This holiday season it is important to be aware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams. In years past, crooks have used fake deals offering up to 80-90% off, spoofed websites, free gift cards, iPhones, iPads and more tricks to collect names, addresses, passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers and other personal information. Here are a few common scams and how you can protect yourself.
- Beware of surveys and gift drawings that want you to enter personal information. Do NOT enter private details on an unsecured site or a site you don’t trust.
- Beware of offers on social media. There are many offers for coupons, free merchandise or cash by simply ‘liking’ the post. Don’t underestimate the information that social media collects about you.
- Beware of emails that purport to have an issue with your package delivery. Many times there will be a link or attachment. Don’t click the link or download the attachment. Instead, if you are expecting a delivery from that particular vendor go to the site or contact the vendor by phone to verify the problem.
- Pay for online purchases through verified methods such as your credit card or PayPal. Should you enter into a bad transaction with a vendor or scammer you are more likely to reclaim the money you spent.
- Another safeguard is to use a credit card with a low credit limit for online purchases. This will protect you further if your account becomes compromised as there will be a limit to how much can be charged against your account.
- Never shop online with a debit card. If a crook intercepts this they essentially have access to your bank account.
- Remember that no reputable vendor or banking institution will ever ask you for your password.
- If the deal seems too good to be true than it’s probably a scam. Actual deals tend to run along the lines of 20% off or free shipping
- Make sure that you are on a secure web site while shopping. Look for the padlock or https in the address bar. Further, look for typos or bad grammar on the site as this may indicate a spoofed website.
- When downloading apps for shopping make sure that you get them from a well vetted site like Apple or Google Play stores. Look for red flags like a typo in the name of the app, typos throughout the page and a low number of reviews.
- Protect your device from viruses. While surfing the web for the great deals you click on a lot of links. Sometimes these can be malicious so make sure you have anti virus software installed and it is up to date.