Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
Protect yourself, your wallet and your identity this season
Black Friday & Cyber Monday specials
To steal your credit card information, online scammers build complete copies of popular websites and send email promoting great deals. Sites that seem to have incredible discounts should be a red flag. Never click on links in an email or a pop-up offering outrageously deep discount offers. Visit the product’s official website through your browser (not email) and double-check every offer.
Complimentary vouchers & gift cards
Don’t fall for social media posts offering vouchers or gift cards paired with special promotions or contests, even if they appear to have been ‘shared’ by a friend. Coffee is cheap, and Disney isn’t giving away 500 theme park tickets...The consequences of this scam can be damaging, resulting in financial loss, harassment from scammers, or stolen personal information. If you want to check whether a giveaway is legitimate, visit the company’s verified social media page and look for the post.
Bogus shipping notices from UPS & FedEx
Shipping notices in your inbox may claim a problem or delivery issue with your package(s). Many of these are ‘ransom’ attacks. Clicking a link or opening an attachment could infect your computer, holding all your personal files for monetary ransom. When in doubt, visit the delivery service’s verified website or contact the company’s customer service line regarding any shipping issues. “Brown” can’t help you out of this one. Resist the click!
Holiday refund scams
“Wrong transaction” emails seemingly from e-commerce companies like Amazon or eBay prompt you to click a refund link. The personal information you provide will be sold to cyber criminals. Never, NEVER pay online with your debit card; use only credit cards. If your debit card is compromised, your bank account can be emptied faster than you can say “Yukon Cornelius.”
Fake suspension of service notices
A recent trend in phishing emails is to convince people that their streaming service or cloud account was suspended due to a payment issue. This is a social engineering attack designed to give criminals your credit or debit card information by requesting you update it to reactivate your account. Visit the site directly, don’t use any links or attachments in an email, to verify or update your billing information. Now go ahead, keep watching – holiday binging isn’t limited to just food.
Free Wi-Fi Connection Scams
If you're at the airport waiting for your flight or sitting at a local coffee shop doing some last minute shopping, be careful about connecting to public Wi-Fi. Hackers can embed themselves between your device and the Wi-Fi connection, which allows them to see anything you do online form that point forward. Don't access any of your finances, shop online, or open any other sensitive data when using public Wi-Fi. Protect yourself from a security breach by using a virtual private network and installing antivirus software.