We are in full swing of the holidays! The hustle and bustle, the giving and receiving, the chilly air, ice skating in Market Square, holiday markets in the Old City and we can’t forget all the shopping that is done online! Naturally, Computer Systems Plus can’t NOT talk about something relating to technology, even in the middle of the holidays. Because while most of us are all about the spirit of giving there are some grinch-like characters who want nothing more than you steal from you. Yes, we are talking about scammers! This can be online, over the phone, and even through the mail!
It’s no secret that shopping ramps up during the holidays, and scams do too. To help ensure you and other holiday shoppers don’t get scammed during the season of giving we put together some tips that can help you enjoy the holidays with a little less stress and without getting taken advantage of by scams and frauds.
- Protect your personal info. It’s easy to hit the “Buy” button from anywhere when you’re on your phone or on your laptop. But be sure you’re not sharing personal or credit card information over public Wi-Fi. Wait until you’re on a secure network to make a purchase.
- Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Don’t always trust the “GREAT SALES!” – over the holidays you will see many sales and deals, and many of them are on social media – but not all of them are legitimate. Carefully read reviews, look for security credentials on websites, and research unfamiliar retailers before you take advantage of a discount.
- Always pay by credit card and keep receipts so you can try to get refunds if there’s an issue.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at firstname.lastname@example.org – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email!
- Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
- Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
And there you have it. Just ten tips the help make you more aware and safer this holiday season! If you have any more questions about how to be more secure feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. We are always available to help!