The winter holidays are a time for friends, family, and fun…and also fraud. Here are 10 ways that you can protect yourself from shopping scams this holiday season:
Gift Card Scams
Don’t ever give anyone your credit card information to claim a gift card that you hear about via email.
Online shopping? Don’t do it while connected to a public Wi-Fi connection. These are not secure, and anyone can get access to your bank account, credit card, or log in information. Instead, use a VPN or your home network.
Be Careful with Coupons
Coupons can be great deals, but if they look too good to be true, you should assume that it is
Protect Your Passwords
Make sure you change passwords regularly for all sensitive accounts. Also, make sure that you don’t repeat passwords from account to account. When you create your passwords, you should randomly make them a mixture of both upper- and lower-case letters along with symbols and numbers. Make it at least 12 characters. You can use a password manager to help you remember it.
Set Up Two Step Verification
Consider setting up two step verification. Once you log into an account, you will receive a numerical code via text, which serves as a second verification for your account. This stops people from logging into an account unless they have both your log in information and your phone.
Think Before Clicking
Don’t click on links that come into your email, even if you think it’s from someone or a company you know. Big companies like Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, etc, usually do not send links like this in email, so if you see one, ignore it. Scammers create these links in the hope that you will click it. If you do click one, it may download a virus to your computer or take you to a fake site, where you might be tricked into entering your credit card information.
Keep Your Bank and Credit Card Secure
Look into the type of security measures that your bank uses, and then use them. You also might consider setting up push notifications or push alerts through your credit card company so you get an email or text message with every charge.
You are likely to see ads during this time a year that advertises for jobs that pay way more than they should. $50 an hour for filling out surveys? Skip it.
Review Your Financial Health
Each month take some time to review all of your financial accounts to see if there is any activity that seems suspicious. Even a small charge can be very suspicious. Often, a scammer will make a small transaction to test things out.
HTTP vs. HTTPS
When you see an “S” at the end of the HTTP portion of the URL, it means that the site is secure. Only do shopping on sites with that “S.” Finally, make sure you update your browser before you shop.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.