December is a month of giving and receiving;. However, don’t let one of those “gifts” you give or receive be connected to a scam! According to the 2013 Online Giving Study, twenty percent of annual giving occurs in December. Cybercriminals are aware of it and taking advantage of it, using various scams to try and convince you to purchase or donate your money. It’s important to remain wary and alert to keep from falling victim. Here are some simple tips to help keep you from falling victim to a scam.
|Image source: Digital Brand Services|
Filter Spam on Your Email
By filtering for spam, you can get rid of a lot of unwanted email before it hits your inbox. Any email that asks for your personal information (passwords, bank accounts, social security number, etc.) should immediately be marked as span (or reported as phishing) and deleted.
Know Your Seller
Do your research before buying from anyone online. Check websites like the Better Business Bureau for feedback on the seller. Try to make purchases only with your credit card since you will be able to dispute those purchases if necessary.
Know Where You’re Donating
If you receive a solicitation for a donation, don't click on the link within the email. Instead, go directly to the charity's website and give your donation there. Be sure that you're using a secure connection. (Look for https and a padlock.) Make sure you do research on the charity to find out whether they're legitimate and how they may use your donation.
Scams, although more prone on the internet, do happen offline as well. Beware of lottery/sweepstake scams, investment scams, charity scams, and census related fraud "opportunities" that occur through phone calls or even snail mail. Never give out private information and pay with a credit card whenever possible.
For More Information
USA.gov Scams and Frauds Page - https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
AARP Top 3 Holiday Scams - https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/FWN_Holiday_Scams.html?cmp=HOLDASCM_NOV25_014
7 Holidays Scams and How to Protect Yourself - http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-holiday-scams-and-how-to-protect-yourself-2014-11-26
RIT Information Security Identity Theft - https://www.rit.edu/security/content/identity-theft
Reporting Fraud - http://www.stopfraud.gov/report.html