The holiday season is upon us. That means Black Friday, Cyber Monday, online shopping, deliveries, special emails, etc.
With all of that going on, the chance of being scammed increases. It was this time last year that Target’s checkout registers were hacked and millions of customers had their credit card information stolen. That was followed by Home Depot and preceded preceded by TJ Max and others. You avoided the stores and decided to shop online? That’s fine until you get the emails from UPS, FedEX, USPS letting you know that the item you’re expecting can’t be delivered, but click this link to find out why….VIRUS. So, what do you do? These tips should help.
Use a Credit Card, Not a Debit Card
Credit cards are much more secure than debit cards. You are protected for fraudulent purchases over $50. Additionally, your debit card is usually connected to your checking account so if someone steals your debit card information, they also have direct access to your checking account. A credit card protects you from that as well.
Another option is to get a prepaid or single use credit card. You can talk to your financial institution to see if they offer single use credit cards. They are great for shopping online. You use them once and no one can use them again.
Watch Out for Emails
This is the time of year where your email is getting bombarded with special offers. Incredible deals abound, just click this link…Don’t do it. Emails have an amazing way of looking like they’re coming from a reputable store but when you click the link, you’re taken to a website that just wants to steal your data.
If you see something you really like in an email, don’t click the link. Open your browser and go to the store’s website to see if they’re really offering that special. If so, use your credit card and order it. If not, delete the email. It was spam.
If you get an email from UPS, FedEX or USPS, be wary. They’ll tell you that your package was returned because it couldn’t be delivered and prompt you to click a link to find out why, or download and open an attachment. Don’t do it as that attachment or link will most likely contain a virus.
The Top Sites in a Search Engine Are Usually Ad Sites
When you do a search for an item, the top sites that come up are usually ads or links that people pay for so that they come up first. Some of those people who pay for placement will put virus links on their site. Scroll down a little on the page to get to the real sites that have the products for sale.
Keep Track of Your Purchases
Keep accurate records of your transactions. If you order online, print your receipts and keep them in a file. If you’re shopping in stores, keep your receipts and keep them in a file. That way you’ll have everything you need if a dispute arises, and it’s much easier to check your statements against the receipts when the statements come in the next month.
Every day it seems there is more and more spam coming to us in our email. Some have links that we’re tricked into clicking on. Some have attachments we’re pushed to download and “view”. Most have a connection to viruses, malware, or worse. But they look like they’re coming from websites or companies we know and use or they look like they’re coming from a family or friend. How would we know they’re bad?
There are a few things to check in the email but you have to learn to question every email, and then check it. Learn to “hover” your mouse over items, meaning move the mouse pointer over the link or other item in the email without clicking. What you’ll see may surprise you.
Watch my video here to see what I mean.