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It’s Thanksgiving weekend and one of the things we’re undoubtedly thankful for is the ability to go on a massive spending spree immediately after turkey day. Just a little tip — when you’re busy buying, the bad guys are busy stealing.

And yes, they’ll be very thankful indeed to get your private data, up to and including your credit card number.

creditcardsVPN maker Hotspot says that 63 percent of retailers see an increase in fraud and hacking on high-traffic days, and up to 83 percent of them are anticipating some kind of attack on Cyber Monday. Meanwhile, a million people suffered identity theft last year.

How do you protect yourself?

Lock down your home Wi-Fi. Shop on trusted e-commerce sites, and check for third-party seals of approval, like those from McAfee, Verisign, or the Better Business Bureau. And — as we all know but few of us do — use strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. (I’ve recently starting doing this and have offloaded the hard work of remembering them to my browser.)

Also, ensure that any site you’re buying from or entering private information into starts with https, not just http, and shows a padlock symbol in the website address bar in your browser. Those sites encrypt web traffic between you and their servers, making it harder for hackers to intercept any data.

Here’s all the information, in visual form:


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