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5 tips to avoid a cyber Monday hangover

‘Tis the season for ugly Christmas sweater parties online shopping. Whether you’re hitting Add To Cart on Amazon or Apple or anywhere in between, when you’re putting financial information out on the interwebs be careful with where and how you share.

If the rising number of high-profile mega data breaches and cyber hacks — most recently at Anthem, Sony, Target, eBay, JP Morgan Chase, and Home Depot — taught us consumers anything, it’s that sharing isn’t always nice (sorry, Mom).

Cyber Monday may be almost behind us, but holiday gifting has just begun. No matter what you’re buying, protect yourself with these 5 tips:

  1. Pay with a credit card or system like Paypal rather than a debit card, to protect sensitive personal information and dispute mysterious charges if necessary.
  2. Only submit payment information on secure Wifi networks. The public Wifi at the local coffee shop is great, but wait to share any sensitive information until you’re surfing on a secure network.
  3. Buy through reputable websites with clear contact information. This will help in the case that there is a problem with your order or the charges.
  4. Look for the https://. The S stands for secure.
  5. Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used.

Cyber risk is a growing threat, especially as companies and individuals alike store more (and even more) sensitive information on the cloud, with the advent of awesome, convenient technologies like Apple Pay. Cyber attacks are among the Top 3 business risks in today’s data-driven world, while Cyber Liability, as we recommend earlier this year, is one of The Two Best Ways To Protect Your Business. The threat is also real for individuals.

Surely you’ve received spam or phishing email from a friend or colleague whose email account has been hacked. When you consider that we often receive sensitive information from our banks and doctors, and store passwords in our email folders, this can be a scary thought.

The good news: Identity Theft coverage is offered under some homeowner’s policies. It is usually offered as part as a very comprehensive coverage package, but inclusion of this coverage is priced competitively to policies without the additional protection. While businesses and individuals alike have been slow to adopt cyber coverage, cyber-specific insurance policies can help reduce potential financial losses from cyber risks and identify theft. Home Depot’s data breach cost the company an estimated $62 million, for example, but was offset by $27 million it expects to be reimbursed by its insurance.

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