The holiday shopping season is prime pickings for scammers and thieves. This morning, author of "Swiped" Adam Levin talked with FOX43 about how to protect yourself online while checking those items off your holiday shopping list. Some tips from Adam include:
• Beware of Fake Promotions/Clone Websites - Beware of holiday deals or coupons. This is an easy way for fraudsters to steal your personal and financial information. Don’t click on links or attachments via email or text because they are infected with malware designed to steal your data or you are directed to a fake website where you are prompted to enter in personal and account information. Think before you click that link. Never give out you’re your personal or financial information online or over the phone. Even if the email or site looks legitimate, go to the official company website and call customer service.
• Secure Your Online Transactions – As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaches, scammers will be targeting online shoppers. To protect your identity, check that the website has HTTPS in the URL, use virtual credit cards where the code changes for each transaction, don’t use unsecure WiFi like at a public café, use long and strong passwords that are diverse that don’t repeat across accounts, use legitimate apps not from third parties and secure your mobile devices with the most up to date antivirus software.
• Use credit cards, not debit cards. If you become a victim of fraud, when you use a credit card, it’s their money. You have 0 liability. When you use a debit card, it’s your money and it will take time for the bank to investigate and reimburse you. You can get your money back quickly from your credit card provider and they take the dispute to the merchant on your behalf. The holidays is the worst time for you to have to dispute a fraudulent charge linked to your banking account and now you are low on funds for gifts and regular bills.
• Don’t Get Skimmed – Look out for devices attached to card readers at the check out line or ATM. If it appears bulky or tampered with, don’t use it. When using the ATM, always cover the keypad with your hands to shield your pin number.
• Don’t Card Hoard: Resist the urge to binge shop. You may want to shop till you drop, but you may see a significant dip in your credit. Limit the number of cards you carry and shop within your budget. The more cards you have and the more transactions you wrack up online leaves you open to identity theft and phishing schemes.
• Watch Out for EMV Scams – With the new EMV rollout, consumers should be cautious of EMV scams. Customers are told in order to receive their new smart card, they have to update their information by providing their account number or identifying information or they are told to click on a link, which is infected with malware designed to steal their personal and financial information. Don’t respond to emails that say “Dear Cardholder” that include links or attachments. Even if the email looks legitimate, got to the official website and contact your issuer’s customer service line. Remember EMV cards are not the silver bullet, they don’t protect against card not present or online transactions.
• Check Your Credit: Check your accounts on a daily basis for any suspicious activity and sign up for transactional monitoring from your bank. Check your credit for free by using AnnualCreditReport.com and sign up for free monitoring from sites like Credit.com.