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8 ways to protect yourself from scams on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday

Holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, especially for fraudsters. Consumers tend to spend more, do it quickly and not pay as much attention to who they buy it from because of the urgency.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers will make the majority of their purchases online, which means that this year's Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday frenzy may be more risky than usual.

According to the Better Business Bureau, 37.9% of all reports to the BBB Scam Tracker were "online shopping scams, an increase from 24.3% in 2019." In addition, 80.5% of these consumers lost money due to these scams, a increase from 71.2% in 2015 when BBB started collecting data.

A BBB survey conducted in August showed that the majority of these scam consumers made purchases for which they never received products.

“Of those who lost money to an online shopping scam, 73% paid for a product and / or service and never got it. Others who fell for this type of scam received an item other than the one that was promoted and could not get a refund (15%), had their credit card information stolen (1%) and reported other problems (11%), such as overheads, extra charges, " free "test offers, recurring fees and returned products without refund", according to the BBB survey report.

If you are planning to skip shopping trips or if your state is already suspended, it is important to keep an eye out for online scams to appear in people's emails, texts and social media.

Here are eight ways to make your vacation security safer:

1. Do not click on that link …

According to The BBB survey was not email, the most common way fraudsters forced people's pockets, but it still happens, according to the BBB survey, only 2% of all consumers who reported fraud were emailed. important to be careful. Scammers who use "phishing" messages (they may appear to be from a brand you know, but they are not) will include a link to a fake website asking for your bank or other personal information.

2. … and do not open that annex .

Legitimate resellers will never make you dig for the offers, so they will not put the good stuff in an attachment. These are not only appendices from retailers but also from shipping companies or financial institutions. Instead of clicking on a link or attachment, you are safer to visit the company's website directly or call them.

3. Beware of skimmers .

Foamers are no longer just physical connections to credit card readers at ATMs and gas stations. Cyber ​​thieves have found ways to use the digital equivalent by installing code on retail websites that allow them to collect your debit card information when you pay for your goods or services.

Using a third-party financial institution such as PayPal, Zelle or Venmo to pay for online purchases can help protect your debit card information. You can also consider using a digital credit card that routinely cycles your credit card number so that fraudsters can not actually use it for other purchases. If you use a traditional credit card, you can sign up for transaction alerts.

4. You use a credit card, yes?

Always use a credit card and not a debit card. Credit cards come with consumer protection that limits your liability if your card information is stolen. If a thief gets hold of your debit card, they can make fraudulent charges for which you will be responsible. Remember that your debit card is a direct line to your cash. Credit cards offer more protection and less disruption to victims of fraud.

5. Keep track of your accounts .

This is important all year round, especially during the holidays when you make more transactions and fraudulent charges can be harder to detect. So either check your bank and credit card accounts daily or sign up for free transaction monitoring software that notifies you when there are activities on your bank, credit card or credit card accounts.

6. Be careful with "free" offers .

Especially during the holidays, cyber thieves often use scams that offer free gift cards to fill out surveys. If you receive one of these offers in an email or text message, it's best to do a quick Google search to see if it's legitimate. If so, you should be able to access the survey tool directly from your browser instead of clicking on a link you do not know.

7. Do your online shopping at home in a secure network

Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure and can expose you to malicious code and hackers. Therefore, it can be very risky to access your bank or credit card accounts or even make purchases on websites. It is best to do your banking and shop at home, but if you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a VPN (virtual private network) that encrypts your activity.

8. Change your passwords .

If you use the same password across a number of accounts, you are more vulnerable to cybercriminals. This is especially risky if you use the same password for your credit and debit accounts. If a criminal gets hold of your thousand-chain references, you can end up with an empty bank account coming Christmas morning.

If managing multiple passwords is a problem for you, consider using a password manager that generates unique passwords for your accounts and remembers them for you.

Conclusion … do not let cyber criminals make you a gift that continues to give this holiday season. The simple, daily security measures listed here should help you protect your financial accounts from hackers.

For added security, however, you may want to consider purchasing a full service package with internet, avoid sending sensitive information on social media channels. and never ever give your financial or sensitive personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone, online or in person. You may also want to check with your insurance company, financial institution and / or employer if they offer products and services to get you through an identity-related incident. Many do as a benefit of your relationship either for free or at a deep discount.

For more tips to be safe and secure this Black Friday, check out this video!

Blog courtesy of CyberScout. © 2020 CyberScout, LLC

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