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Secure Your Festive Finances: DoIT and IEMA-OHS Offer Tips for a Cyber-Safe Holiday

Press Release - Monday, November 20, 2023

SPRINGFIELD - It may be "the most wonderful time of the year," but one hack on your bank account or credit card could ruin it very quickly.


The holidays often bring spurts of online shopping and charitable donations that give cyber criminals lots of opportunity to cause havoc in your life. The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) encourage you to step up your digital game by Black Friday on November 24.


"As we embrace the joy of the holiday season, let's also embrace smart digital practices to protect our financial well-being," said Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology Acting Secretary and State CIO Sanjay Gupta. "Stay vigilant, choose secure payment options, and regularly monitor your accounts for any unauthorized activity to keep your accounts safe and secure."


IEMA-OHS Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said, "A few simple steps now can save so much frustration later. Be wary of texts, ads, and emails that offer attractive purchases and instead go to the company's website. Always check reviews and check for a physical location for the company and customer service information."


Other tips include:

  • Steer clear of fake websites:Double-check URLs, look for ‘https://' and a padlock symbol, and stick with trusted retailers. Be cautious of unsolicited emails.
  • Beware of phishing emails:Be cautious of phishing emails, avoid suspicious links, and verify senders.
  • Create strong passwords:Use strong, unique passwords that include letters, numbers, and symbols for each retailer and consider a password manager.
  • Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true:Staying skeptical of unrealistic deals can protect you from falling into digital traps. Stick to reputable retailers.
  • Avoid public Wi-FI: Avoid public Wi-Fi networks and use secure connections like home Wi-Fi or cellular data. Consider using a VPN for added protection.

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