Christmas is a great time to be generous. Unfortunately, there are Grinch’s out there that have hearts 2 sizes smaller than yours. So, as you are going about spreading your normal holiday cheer, make sure you trust, but verify. Don’t open every ecard. Don’t give to every charity drive. Fraudsters have done their homework, and they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Falling for these attacks can result in security breaches, identity theft, or financial loss. So, how can you identify and avoid them?
- Avoid following unsolicited links or downloading attachments from unknown sources
- Use safe online shopping practices like only shopping from reputable vendors and make sure the webpage begins with ‘https://’
- Keep your computer patched and protected with antivirus
- Check your shopping app settings – you are responsible for all charges in your shopping app unless otherwise stated
- Check your statements
- Be suspicious- if something seems odd, pay attention and follow your lead
- Before you make a charitable donation, check out the charity, ask for details, and consider donating a Gift-in-kind rather than a monetary donation– review the FTC publication on Charity Scams
Check out these tips and more from the Department of Homeland Security. Be careful, trust but verify, and have yourself a merry little Christmas and a Happy New Year!