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Protecting your Personal Data During Holiday Shopping Season!

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

Use of public WIFI - Avoid conducting any personal transactions (online shopping, accessing your bank account, etc.) while on a public WIFI network. All information that is transferred over public WIFI is available to anyone accessing the same network. Hackers can intercept your communication and steal your personal data (user name, password, credit card, etc..). Wait until you get home to conduct personal transactions using your secured WIFI at home.

Text Message Phishing - This occurs when scammers use deceptive text messages to lure you into providing your personal or financial information. Be suspicious of strange-looking numbers. Do not click on any links that come with a text message. Call the company to see if the text is legit. Some links may point to fake websites that are designed to look like the official website to solicit your personal data.

Telephone Scams – Be vigilant of scam phone calls – free vacations and prizes, bank loans, phony debt collectors, fake charities, warrant threats, IRS and Social Security calls. Most are simply looking to steal your web site credentials and credit cards. Government agencies generally do not call you. Official companies already have your personal account information so be suspicious if they are asking for it again.

Suspicious websites - There are many fake websites designed to emulate official websites with the intent to collect your personal data including your user name, password and credit card information. Verify that the URL is correct. Check if links within the page work or if they are simply just an image. Secured websites should have a small padlock next to the URL on the search bar or say "https". Emphasis is on the "s" which stands for "secured".

Recurring bank withdraws – Be mindful of your bank transactions especially during the holiday season. Scan through your bank statements (paper or online) for suspicious activities. Call the bank if you see any unusual transactions. Keep an eye on “recurring” transactions for services that you may have already cancelled. For example, did you stop going to the gym? If so, check if payments are still being withdrawn automatically every month.

Social Media Quizzes - Facebook quizzes can put you at risk for identity theft. These are generally online security questions that you use to "reset" your password. For example, they may ask you for the model of your first car, pet name, maiden name, etc. Generally, these are the same security questions that you may be asked to provide when you forget your password to a website that you often visit.

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