Being cyber vigilant all year long is important, but scammers hit extra hard during the holiday season. Use these tips to keep yourself protected this season.
- Shop secure sites: Look for “https” in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and for a lock symbol.
- Fake, look-alike websites: Make sure to use the legitimate website for the stores you are shopping with. Be sure to check the URLs for extra words and letters in the name.
- Phony shipping notifications: Notifications may arrive with attachments to open or links to Fake, Look-alike websites sites that will install malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords.
- Unusual forms of payment: Be suspicious if you are asked to pay for purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, or third parties. These payments cannot be traced or undone.
3 red flags to watch out for –
- The sender’s name is not apparent
- You are required to share additional information to get the e-card.
- Free gift card pop-up ads or emails offering free gift cards are often just a ploy to get your personal information that can later be used for identity theft.
Letters from Santa: There are a few trusted companies that offer personalized letters from Santa, but scammers often mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting users. Check with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) to find out which ones are legitimate.
Emergency scam: If you receive a call or email from an individual claiming to be a family member who has been involved in an accident, arrested, or hospitalized while traveling internationally. Never send money unless you can validate the story with another trusted family member/friend.
Phony charities: Scammers set out to take advantage of holiday generosity using solicitations for phony charities. They may come as emails, calls, social media posts, and even text messages. Verify the legitimacy of charities at give.org before donation.
Online gift exchange: This is often run thru social media, and It sounds like a great deal; buy one gift card and get 35 in return. But it’s just a variation on a pyramid scheme and it is illegal.
KEEP WATCH OVER YOUR ACCOUNTS
Online/Mobile Banking: Review activity weekly to make sure everything is accurate.
Fraud/Balance Alert: make sure your accounts are set up with alerts for things like low balance/low credit limits, large transactions, and unusual activity, and be warned right away that something suspicious might be happening.
Statements: If you are monitoring your accounts weekly through online/mobile banking, then there should be no surprises… but that does not mean you should skip the monthly review of your statements to double-check and protect yourself.
Every day, your business depends on information technology (IT) to operate. Thank you for letting us be there for you.