Don’t Let ‘Cyber Scrooge’ Ruin Your Holidays
Cyber Scams are on the increase during the holiday season. Adapt your on-line behavior to avoid getting hacked or attacked by ‘Cyber Scrooge’. To help ensure your holiday season goes well, follow these tips to help stay secure.
In the first quarter of 2019, 2.2 BILLION account credentials were stolen. These identities continue to be sold on the dark web.
If you haven’t put a freeze on your credit, this is a good time to put it in place. An ounce of prevention….
Another preventative measure is to put an alert on your bank account. You are notified every time your bank account is accessed. Review the alerts as they come in – be sure it is your activity.
Robocalling has increased in popularity in 2019. Consider downloading the app Robokiller that will stop robocalls before you even pick up. The app’s block list is constantly updating. Let all unknown calls go to voicemail. Never share personal details over the phone. If ‘customers service’ is calling you, hang up and call the company directly.
Go directly to the source. Phishing emails continue to abound taking on new looks during the holiday season. You may receive shipping status emails. Many will be expecting legitimate shipping updates as orders are placed online. If the email doesn’t look familiar – Don’t click on any links. Delete the email.
Gift card email scam is similar to the shipping email scam. You receive a receipt for a gift card you don’t remember purchasing. Call the company noted in the email. Don’t cancel the gift card and think you will get a refund. The link could infect your computer or worse, freeze operations.
Use a comprehensive security solution. Use Malware and antivirus software on your computer. Do the updates regularly. Do updates on your operating system regularly. Don’t leave the door ‘open’ for hackers to ‘steal’ your computer.
Make backups of your home computer, too. A separate disk drive is small and relatively inexpensive. Much cheaper than a hacker who captures your computer and ‘ransoms’ it back to you. The thieves may offer to ‘fix’ your computer for a fee paid with gift cards or bitcoin. That is a red flag. Stop, breathe and call a reputable IT service.
Look for the padlock when shopping online. The padlock indicates this is a secure website for making purchases on-line. Look for the ‘https’ on websites seeking information. The ‘s’ means the website is secure and your information will be encrypted before transferring.
You make your payment and the product never arrives. The posting disappears. If you like the product, go to the company website. Be sure it is a legitimate company before making a purchase.
Another scam on social media is ‘fake’ charities. A Facebook page is set up to look like a legitimate charity that often sounds like a charity you may know. Scammers are pushing these postings as this is the ‘season of giving’. However, scammers are pocketing donations and no ‘charitable service’ is provided.
Or you might receive a text saying you won a gift card from a well-known store. Walmart is the latest store used as bait in this scam. Google the text to see if it is a scam before clicking on it.
An ounce of prevention could prevent ‘cyber scrooge’ from robbing your Christmas cheer.
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