Holiday Fraud Prevention TipsPublished
Unfortunately, fraudsters don’t take time off during the holiday season. Fraud attacks increased by 13% last year during the holidays, according to the 2018 Fraud Attack Index from Forter. With holiday shopping just around the corner, increased online and in-store fraud is anticipated. Please be vigilant in protecting yourself, by incorporating these tips into your daily activities:
- When shopping online, don’t be fooled by a fake, look-alike, or spoofed website, as it may contain malware to capture your sensitive information. Always take a moment to verify the correct website address, or type in the website name yourself to verify the correct spelling.
- With significant online orders, fraudsters can use generic and fake shipping confirmation messages as their hook – take a moment to think before you open or click, as it may contain a link with malware. Did you even order from Amazon this week?
- Scammers recognize the holidays as a popular giving season, so watch for fake emails, social media sites, or text messages promoting phony charities looking for donations.
- Be sure to apply in-person, or go to a business website, to validate holiday jobs at delivery services and retailers. Don’t click on email links to apply – this could be another way that fraudsters troll to capture personal information.
- Beware of people that are asking for payment in the form of prepaid cards, gift cards, wire transfers, or by going through a third party. These types of payments are typically not traceable, and can’t be reversed or recovered once completed.
- Remain aware of where you are at. Be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Always survey your surroundings for safety. Listen to your internal “spidey” sense, a powerful ally that is usually right.
- Beware of secret shopper or temporary job opportunities – especially ones that require you to deposit a check into your account for someone else, or to prepay fees up front to become part of their program. Legitimate business opportunities do not require these.
- Trust us – you haven’t won a foreign lottery, especially since you never entered. Don’t fall for this scam that usually requires you to pay an upfront fee to receive your winnings, which never arrive – or worse yet, ask for your account information to deliver the prize.
- Don’t share your account or login credentials with anyone else.
- Change your password often, and whenever possible keep unique passwords for your different accounts. Try to add numbers and symbols, and use a simple phrase that only you know – like “this account is for my sister to go to Hawaii”, or “Tai4ms2g2H!”
- When available on your accounts, sign up for transaction alerts to monitor for unauthorized transactions.
- Pay extra-special attention to emails, links, and websites. Think before you click!
- Ensure home computers, laptops and mobile devices are protected with up-to-date antivirus, anti-spyware, and a firewall. Let the software updates auto-install if possible.
- Close shopping websites when done, or turn off the computer, tablet, or mobile device.
- Be cautious when using ATMs or gas pumps, and look for any signs of tampering or flimsy installation, which could indicate a skimming or shimming device that tries to steal your card and PIN number.
- Try to use the gas pump closest to the entrance door as they are less likely to be a target for skimmers. Also, gas pumps with horizontal (left-right) card slots are generally newer and more secure than those with vertical (up-down) slots.
- If possible, review your account activity every couple of days, and report any discrepancies immediately.
- If something sounds too good to be true, or doesn’t make logical sense (no matter how much you want to believe it’s true), don’t engage.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll help insure a cheerful holiday season with friends and family.