Holiday shopping is in full swing, and so are holiday scammers. This year, you can keep the Grinch out of your holidays by following online safety practices and shopping safely. Here are a few tips to help keep your holiday shopping cheerful while you are checking off that list.
- Learn How to Recognize a Threat – Knowing how to recognize a phishing attempt is the single best defense you have against scammers. Take the free KnowB4 training course from Mid-Rivers to educate yourself.
- Install Security Software & Keep Systems Updated – Security software can help block phishing scams and any malware or viruses they might contain. Keeping all your software (especially your Operating System, such as Windows) updated is also an important defense.
- Shop Reputable Sites – That ad that seems too unbelievably good to pass-up, is probably one you better think twice (or three times) about before clicking. Clicking on links or buttons in a scam advertisement or message can download malware programs onto your computer, giving the scammer access to your data. If you’re unsure whether a message is from a credible source, visit the source’s official website or call them at a known, trusted phone number and ask.
- Be Aware of What You Share – Shopping online requires you to share some basic information about yourself, like your email address, shipping address, and payment information. However, if sites are looking for more information than you feel comfortable with, don’t hesitate to find another retailer.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication – Set up your banking, credit card, and other accounts that allow it for multi-factor authentication. This means two or more credentials (like a PIN or security question in addition to your password) to access your data, so it’s more difficult for scammers to steal your information, even if they get your username and password.
If You Fall Victim to an Online Scam:
- Change your passwords for your computer, websites you frequent, and any financial institutions.
- If you are concerned that financial access information may have been stolen, contact your financial institution(s) immediately and report that you may be the victim of fraud.
- Run a full-system scan for viruses on your computer.
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.