Scam Season

Christmas Season has officially begun and guess what…….. It’s Holiday Season for the bad guys too! But not the way you might think, they go into scam-overdrive mode. The holiday season is the busiest on-line shopping time and they are out to get rich with your money. So what do you need to look out for?

1.At the moment, there are literally thousands of fake sites, looking just like the real thing. Don’t fall for it. Make sure the site you go to is the real one. Type in the address or use your bookmark, do not click on links in emails with special offers.

2.Watch out for alerts via email or text that you just received a package from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. Don’t enter anything.

3.Don’t download fake mobile apps that promise big shopping savings, and be very wary of online discount coupons.

 TOP 10 SECURITY THREATS FOR USERS:

1. Today, phishing scams are skyrocketing, especially driven by deals and rebate offers. Don’t open any attachments or click on links appearing to be from trusted vendors you shop with. Go directly to the website of the vendor looking for the sales and deals.

2. Do not use ATM/debit cards online, only use credit cards and think about a voluntary limit, or at least a text when a purchase gets made.

3. Delivery- and non-delivery scams. Watch out for emails that confirm shipments or that try to scam you with shipment problems.

4. Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. Increase your security awareness levels, and maintain a healthy skepticism when you see special offers in email or social media.

5. Watch out for fake discount coupons, and fake “game codes”, that are nothing but a nonsense string of letters and numbers.

6. Keep an eye out for online credit card collection imposters. You might stress out because of your high credit card bills, and bad guys are sending emails that claim to be from the credit card company claiming your account is overdue and is subject to being shut down unless you make a payment immediately. You may be tricked in giving away your credit card information.

7. Holiday Ransomware: You should understand that information—e.g. order confirmation emails— on your computers increase in value over the holiday season, and that means that you are more likely to panic and pay ransom if ransomware strikes.

8. Be very wary when you get an inbound phone call, never give out any personal information if you did not initiate the call yourself.

9. Avoid downloading anything from questionable websites. Disable popups on your devices by using trusted, reliable popup blockers.

10. If you suspect that you may have entered your credit card data into a fake website after all, immediately call your credit card company and cancel your card. Then change your passwords and pin-codes for your online banking sites. Use strong passwords and never use the same password for several websites or services, because if one is stolen, all of your accounts will be put at risk.

Think Before You Click and Enjoy a Safe Holiday Shopping Season!