Folks, as we approach the Holidays, please be aware, and remind your friends and family, that we are entering the peak scam, ripoff, fraud, and – of course! – phishing season. The vermin are happily and busily creating phony online stores, and filling our Inboxes, Faceboook, and Twitter with bait and lures of all types.
“Holiday shoppers can expect cybercriminals to be out in force this season,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Shoppers should be alert to scams and other attempts to lure them to provide personal and financial information that could lead to data loss or the infection of an Internet connected device. We encourage everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and make sure they have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of actions and behavior and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping online.”
McAfee recently released a list of the most popular scams on the Internet during the holiday season. You can see them here: 12 Scams of Christmas 2012
We should/can take steps to increase our safety, security and confidence online with these simple tips:
- Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets – should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems and other key programs and apps.
- When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
- Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately – including indicating a problem with an order or payment—or ask you to view the website or an account via a provided link.
- Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option. They allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards may limit the monetary amount you will be responsible if your account is compromised. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service.
- Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. Check reviews of sites you have never used before.
- Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller.
Yes.. “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are coming up, and yes, great deals can be found. I am not saying don’t shop online — but I am saying now is the time to double-up on your “paranoid common sense”. Nobody’s protecting you. There’s no “Internet police”. But there are *scumbuckets* intent (focused like a laser beam) on stealing from you. Thousands and thousands of them.
This looks suspicious to me too
There’s a whole stack of other depressing news, too. But I’ll spare you. I’ll just say – again – let’s be careful out there.
Today’s quote: “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.
All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.