Savvy Tips for Fraud Protection This Holiday Season
November 18, 2019
As the community’s credit union, we wanted to help educate our community to be vigilant and proactive. It is important for consumers to be aware of the signs of schemes crooks try to use to defraud people. And especially this time of years as we approach the holidays.
Unfortunately, there are crooks out there. As technology increases, the bad guys have resorted to using this digital technology. So, it is important to be a savvy user of technology.
Here are simple tips to use this holiday season.
Keep Your Passwords Secret
We always want to remind the community to keep your passwords secret. Do not share passwords and do not leave any documents that contain access to financial data in an unsecured area. Change your passwords regularly for better protection, using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters when possible. Change your wireless network default password as well as the default SSID (name used to identify your network). Don't broadcast your SSID and consider using encryption on your network.
Be Aware of Phishing Schemes
Know to watch out for phishing schemes. Phishing schemes are designed to prompt you to click clinks provide within the email to verify or change your account. Oftentimes, the links included in the email are ways for fraudsters to install malicious software onto your computer. So, watch for phony email addresses. Perhaps, the organization’s name has been misspelled and is only missing one letter. If you don’t know who is sending the email, don’t open it.
Protect Your Computer
With cyber attacks on the rise, it’s more important than ever to install antivirus software on your computer or network. Equally important is ensuring you are regularly running and updating this software to prevent viruses from infecting your computer. In addition, installing and enabling the following software programs will help you combat malicious cyber activity:Anti-spam software: Helps prevent spam and junk email from entering your inbox, which helps guard against phishing emails
- Anti-spam software: Helps prevent spam and junk email from entering your inbox, which helps guard against phishing emails
- Firewall: Helps prevent unauthorized access to your computer through viruses and malware
- Anti-spyware software: Blocks the installation of spyware on your computer, which can monitor or control your computer use and send you pop-ups or redirect you to malicious websites
Guard Your Cards
And as you are shopping this holiday season, remember to be vigilant about your financial identity. Don’t give your debit and credit cards to friends.
Don’t leave your debit and credit cards unsecured. Don’t lay your purse down at a holiday. And be always be vigilant about not leaving your purse in your vehicle. If you don’t need it, leave it at home. Or lock it in your trunk.
In short, if the offers sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
These are tips from the Federal Trade Commission about ways you can avoid fraud.
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead.
- Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
- Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
- Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.