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Credit Card protectionThe weeks between Black Friday and Christmas are the busiest shopping period of the year because everyone is getting ready for the holidays. More than ever, people are choosing to do their shopping online to avoid the crowds and long lines. After all, you can shop from almost anywhere and get the same product at a great price shipped right to your door. Seems like an easy decision, right? Unfortunately, there are people out there that take advantage of the fact that some shoppers may not be savvy about securing their personal information when shopping online, so keep these things in mind when cyber-shopping to protect your identity, your assets and your home.

  1. Make sure your device is protected. Computers, tablets and phones should have some type of software to protect it from malware that can compromise your security.

  2. Use websites that are well-known and have a good reputation. When you venture into specialty sites that you haven't used before, check into their security. Look for an icon of a padlock next to the site's address at the top of your screen or in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser before divulging personal information.

  3. During the holiday season, check your bank and credit card accounts online frequently to make sure there isn't any suspicious activity. Most credit cards don't hold you responsible for purchases made illegally, but it's still less of a headache if you catch it quickly.

  4. Use strong passwords. Create unique passwords that are a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Try to come up with something that is memorable, so you don't have to write it down (which is a security risk).

  5. Don't tell everything. There's no reason why you should have to give out your birthday or social security number to purchase the latest DVD. If the site requires information like this, walk away.

  6. Don't purchase on free WiFi hotspots. If you like to shop while enjoying a treat at your favorite coffee place then feel free to browse, but wait until you have a private, secure connection before making the purchase with your personal credit card or bank account numbers.

Shopping online is a great convenience, but be safe and take these tips into consideration before you start in on your holiday list.

Rest easy knowing your family and home are protected. Call First Independent - Descamps Insurance Agency at (586) 247-2220 for more information on Sterling Heights home insurance.

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