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The holidays are right around the corner. With the season of giving upon us, hackers are ready to take advantage. Here's some tips on a few scams you should watch out for in the coming months.

 

  • Bogus Charities
    Increasingly, hackers are setting up fake charity websites to scam people with good intentions. To guarantee that you’re donating to a reputable charity, make sure the charity you're considering is registered with the Secretary of State and find out how much of your contribution will go to the charitable fundraiser and how much will go to the needy. By knowing who you're giving to, you can reduce the likelihood of being hit by a scammer.
  • Fake Gift Cards
    Gift cards are often purchased as last-ditch present ideas for birthdays or holidays, but they are also one of the primary ways scammers use to make a quick buck. If you see deals on online auction sites for discounted gift cards, beware — the cards could easily be stolen, making them worthless. Make sure that you purchase gift cards from trusted, licensed vendors.
  • Porch Pirates
    Online shopping is never so great as it will be over the coming weeks. And it's sometimes difficult to coordinate package delivery to your home while you’re there. That's why it is has become common for thieves to follow delivery trucks around, then grab packages off porches moments after they have been delivered. To keep this from becoming a problem, ask that your package require a signature upon delivery, or have it shipped to your work address.
  • Credit Card Skimmers
    Though this one has been around for several years, it's still widespread. Some thieves use credit card skimming devices to steal your data from ATMs or point-of-sale terminals. Always take note of the device that you’re using to pay with a card to ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with. And be wary of any approaching strangers while you are using your credit and debit cards.  

And while you're shopping online this year to safe yourself some time, money and hassle, be smart and stay safe.  Here's a few tips for your online safety:

  1. Before submitting any sensitive information, look for the padlock icon in the address bar, along with HTTPS at the beginning of the URL.
  2. Only shop on websites that have a good reputation, and preferably that you've heard of.
  3.  Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping online. Keep your online shopping trips at home!
  4.  Be skeptical of unsolicited emails in your inbox, especially when it comes to fake invoices and bogus shipping orders.
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