‘Tis the season for shopping and online Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday sales are enticing. Before you click that ad or enter your credit card information, think carefully about the safety of your information.
Among the most common internet scams are phishing emails requesting you to take action regarding your bank accounts, fake auctions or ads, sale of imitation brand name product or products bought with stolen credit cards and fraudulent gift cards that are heavily discounted.
Creditcards.com advises that you avoid using your debit cards to make purchases as the money is instantly removed from your account. When a credit card is used it is easier for you to dispute a claim as well as put a stop order on a payment. Also, use a reputable payment agency like Paypal to make online payments instead of providing your information directly to the merchant.
In addition, avoid storing credit card information on websites. It is convenient not only for you, but also the cyber criminal.
Public wifi should be avoided when shopping. When you do this your information is exposed to cyber criminals
Here are some tips from the FBI to help you avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
• Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
• Be cautious of e-mails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Always run a virus scan on attachment before opening.
• Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
• Always compare the link in the e-mail to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
• Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
• Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify that the e-mail is genuine.
• If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
• Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The FBI advises that if you have received a scam e-mail, you can notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.
Have you or anyone you know been the victim of cyber criminals?
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