5 Ways to Protect Your Identity Online This Holiday Season


5 Ways to Protect Your Identity
Online This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for food, family, gifts, shopping…and online scams. Every year from Thanksgiving into the new year, cybercriminals work overtime and use crafty schemes in an attempt to compromise your identity and online security.

In 2021, U.S. consumers spent nearly $25 billion online from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. If you plan to shop or conduct business online this holiday season, here are five tips that can help you do it safely.


Double-check the website address before entering personal or payment information. Cybercriminals can create fake websites that look almost identical to popular retail sites to trick you into sharing your personal and financial information.

Safeguard your passwords. Use a unique password for each account, and create a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that is hard to guess. Whenever possible, use multifactor authentication (MFA), a security feature that requires an extra step to verify your identity. Never write your passwords down or share them with anyone, and look out for “shoulder surfers.”



Use secure, traceable payment methods. Avoid paying through methods that cannot be traced or don’t allow refunds. Verify that the site URL contains “https” to ensure your online transactions are secure.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi for online transactions. If it’s easy for you to access a public network, it’s easy for cybercriminals to do so too!



Verify donation requests. Fraudsters can take advantage of your generosity around the holidays by posing as representatives of charitable causes. Before donating, double-check the organization’s website to verify the request.

If you believe you have been the victim of an online scam, report it to the authorities immediately. If your personal or financial information has been stolen or compromised, visit IdentityTheft.gov for resources and additional support.

For additional tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud, visit nycers.org/fraud.