The holidays are a busy time for fraudsters and thieves. With a little knowledge you can protect your money, information, and packages this holiday season.
If you get an email telling you a package is on the way, be careful before you click! A false notification may contain a link or attachment that will take you to a site that will install malware on your tablet or laptop and gain access to your personal information. If you don’t remember making the purchase, don’t open it. Instead, look the company up via your favorite search engine, and look for the order there.
Fraudsters may pose as your credit union or bank employee to try and gain access to your bank accounts. WECU will never text, call, or email you to ask for your login information or personal details. Report suspicious texts, calls, and emails to WECU immediately.
Scammers visit stores and write down the number on the back of the gift cards. After they see it has been purchased, they head online and use the number to use up the balance. Check the back of the card to see if the wrapping has been tampered with or the pin revealed. If it has, put it back.
Beware of Emails, Texts or Mail Communication that is Too Good to be True, Urgent, or Overly Threatening
Often fraudsters will try to bait your emotions, so you act without thinking. Be aware if the language used is overly provoking as it might be a sign that something is off.
Don’t Open Email Attachments or Click on Email Links from Strangers
If you don’t know the sender and are not expecting the email, delete it. To figure out if an attachment is suspicious, a good tip is to look at the file extension. Most files have extensions like “.png, .pdf. or .doc” but if a file has a double extension, like “awesome.doc.pif,” or .exe, .pif, or .vbs these could be dangerous to open.
Only Provide Your Email Address to Reputable Sites
Getting email offers or junk mail is one thing but, if a fraudster gets your email, they can use it to send emails that bait you into taking an action that could expose you to cyber-attacks or having your information stolen.
Use an anti-virus program and ad-blocking software in your browser
One of the most common ways that cyber crooks infect systems is with malicious advertisements online called malvertising. Use ad-blocking software in your browser and install an anti-virus software on your computer to protect yourself.
Keep your computer, phone, tablet and other electronics devices updated
Nobody likes to wait for updates to install, but software updates are important to keeping your devices secure. Make sure to check for updates on all your devices at least once a month.
Some crooks seek to take advantage of your good will during the holiday season by posing as a charity. Sometimes they’ll say they’re from a charity you’re probably familiar or other times they’re made up. It’s best not to make donations via email or over the phone instead visit the charity’s website and donate there.
Odd Payment Requests
If you get a phone call or email from a supposed retailer asking you for an alternate form of payment, be wary. It’s best to go directly through the site or pay in person. Also, be concerned if a seller wants you to pay with a gift card or wire transfer.
Only Shop on Secure Networks
Avoid shopping while on public Wi-Fi networks like at a coffee shop. If you must use free or unsecure Wi-Fi, use a VPN to encrypt your connection.
Fake Online Shops
It’s hard to pass up a bargain if you see one online but that’s exactly what scammers are banking on when they set up fake online shops. They pull you in with an awesome deal, you check out providing your credit card info, and they have you.
Keep your Package Deliveries Safe from “Porch Pirates”
According to a recent survey, 1 in 12 Americans who purchased items online have fallen victim to “porch pirates” or thieves who steal packages directly from your porch. To avoid falling victim: customize delivery times to ensure someone will be home, send packages to friends or family who are home throughout the day, have packages delivered to your work, have packages delivered to a delivery facility or ask a neighbor who will be home to keep an eye out for the package. Capturing an image of your pirate may help the police catch them. You might also consider an inexpensive doorbell surveillance system like Ring or Nest.
Got Something You’re Not Sure About? Give us a Call!
While keeping your money, packages and information safe has gotten even more complicated, we encourage you to take some simple precautions to make sure you don’t fall victim to a Grinch this holiday season.