Cyber Friday, I mean Black Monday
Whatever you might call it, the shopping season has officially begun. Chances are for the next several weeks, you and your family and friends will be swiping a card or making online purchases a lot more often than normal. Millions of consumers will be making purchases from their nearest computer or phone, which easily puts your personal information at risk of a cyber-attack.
Whether it is credit card fraud, bank account infiltration or simple identity theft, shoppers, especially online, are at high risk. Here area few precautions and tips to prevent yourself from being a victim of cyber-attacks.
Spam is not just a meat product
Phishing emails, texts and phone calls are tempting. They impersonate major retails and offer deals that are so good they just have to be clicked on. Spam is not just a meat product. It’s a folder that helps filter out these phishing emails. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness of this honey trap though, some message still land in your inbox, so it’s best to take precautions with all messages. Also be cautious of phone calls from unrecognizable and unsolicited phone numbers. Even if it is an English-speaking person and seems legitimate, it is fine and a good safety precaution to ask the service personnel if you can call them back.
Yup, hakkers. Hackers are often located in countries whereEnglish is not their first language. So . . . if you see any grammar mistakes or misinterpreted words, it’s likely a fraudulent message or advertisement.
Make sure it’s not the Reject Hotline
There are some ways for you to check to see if the advertisement or message you received is real. Look for phone numbers, email or physical addresses and Google them. If the information is associated with a legitimate business, a Google search will likely show it. Either way don’t provide your credit card details unless you are sure the company is legit.
Reviews are helpful but they can be scams too. Reading reviews on products or companies you’re planning to give your business to can validate the quality of the product you are buying and consumer experiences with the company. That being said, many products pay for false advertising so if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Websites like www.fakespot.com can be a good resource to assess the quality of a review.
Check your accounts
It’s good practice to check your bank and credit card accounts at least weekly. Automatic payments are convenient but can also allow for unknown credit card purchases to slip through the cracks. Set up text or email alerts to prompt you to review your accounts. This will get you one step closer to stopping a cybercriminal and give you peace of mind.