‘Tis the Season for Consumer Scams

10 Tips to Protect Your Assets This Holiday Season


With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching the FBI and the Better Business Bureau released an annual warning to shoppers highlighting some of the consumer scams and threat scenarios shoppers may encounter.
We’ve reviewed these and other lists, done the research, and put together this essential set of tips to keep your data safe while you shop online:

Tip # 1: Use your credit card or PayPal rather than a debit card.  Protect your bank account.

Tip # 2: Run your computer updates before starting your holiday shopping. Tighten up your antivirus protection and we also recommend putting in place Anti-MalWare and ad blocker mechanisms from trustworthy sources. We have recommendations if you need them.

Tip # 3: Do not shop over public WiFi. Do this over a secure connection.

Tip # 4: Avoid making purchases by mobile device when possible.  When you browse the web via mobile device it can sometimes be tough to read the fine print, or you might miss critical signs pointing to a scam.
On that note, we recommend you research and define the source before downloading “free apps” to your device. These can be a door into personal data stored or transferred via your phone or tablet.

Tip # 5: Don’t use your search engine to find deals or coupon sites, which can install spyware; instead, type in retail sites you seek to visit.

Tip # 6: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Look out for those holiday sweepstakes, info exchanges for vouchers, or surveys that promise to result in prizes.  If you see this on social media someone in your network likely fell victim first!

Tip # 7: Retailers will note discount codes in their messages that you can manually enter to receive the same discounts in most cases that you would receive by following their links. The links from emails or other sites are susceptible to hacking interference.

Tip # 8: Pay attention to sites’ URL’s and check your spelling. Look for “https” secure sites, padlock icons, and other indicators of secure transaction zones before entering requested info. Check links in emails to determine if the URL matches the destination you expect.

Tip # 9: Do not save your credit card info whenever possible- although it is more work to re-enter your credentials each time, avoiding that information carrying along with you increases the safety of that information.

Tip # 10: If you’re not expecting a rebate or mail, do not click on links to retrieve “free prizes” or “reschedule” deliveries.
Official correspondence from banking organizations, delivery services, and vendors will be marked clearly and unambiguously, and typically provide proper contact information.
If you really are scheduling deliveries, be sure to select a time window when you know someone will be home to receive them; alternatively, designate a spot where your boxes won’t be left out in the open for the taking, and note this on your order.


BONUS TIP: Monitor your credit cards and accounts throughout the holiday season, and thereafter for that matter!

Have a safe and happy holiday.

It’s time to get proactive: Learn more about our Business Security Solutions.