Online Shopping Season Brings Out The Holiday Fraud.

As 2022 flies by, believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is upon us. This is your annual reminder to be on the lookout for all kinds of cyber creeps waiting to take advantage of those of us wanting to spread some cheer through our holiday shopping. Hackers continue to improve upon their various cyber scams, becoming harder to detect however, it’s important to remain vigilant.

Always topping the list of ways cyber criminals take advantage of us is phishing. This can be done in a whole host of ways these days, including:

  • Internet advertisements

  • Social medial advertisements

  • Email messages

  • Phone messages

  • Text/SMS messages

But don’t fret. There are ways you can take matters into your own (shopping) fingertips to mitigate your risk of becoming a holiday shopping scam victim.

 

Reduce Your Risk

If you are unsure about an email or advertisement’s authenticity, you should independently verify it, delete it right away, or just not click on it. In other words, do some research before taking any action.

If you must check out something you see on the side of your social media feed, type the company name into the browser manually, rather than clicking links.

Protect your payment card numbers. If you have an option to use a payment service such as Apple or Google Pay or even PayPal, consider using them. They protect your account numbers from prying eyes. Plus, you don’t even have to take your card out of your wallet.

Speaking of payment cards, if you are out and about and doing an in-person purchase, run your payment card as credit, rather than debit. This provides more protection for you in case the card number is stolen.

Check your payment statements more often during this time period than you might otherwise. If you haven’t downloaded your financial institution’s mobile app, consider doing this. It makes it simple to check charges. By and large, mobile apps downloaded from the official app stores are safe to use. Just make sure to verify it is the correct app developed by or specifically for your financial institution. If you can’t be sure, contact customer service for assistance.

On the subject of downloading apps, stick to those official app stores. Don’t side load them—meaning to get them from third-party sites.

 

With Black Friday (November 27), Small Business Saturday (November 28), and Cyber Monday (November 30), as well as the remainder of the holiday shopping period on the horizon, cybersecurity professionals advise extra caution when spreading holiday cheer.

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