As you are gearing up for the holiday shopping season, fraudsters are also preparing for it to prey upon unsuspecting consumers. Ongoing awareness of these scams is critical to help protect your personal and financial information. Here are some recommendations:
- Secure home computers and mobile devices: Your home computers should be secured with a firewall and antivirus software before performing any online transactions. Operating system patches should be downloaded when made available by software vendors. Protect your mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) used to conduct online transactions by installing antivirus software.
- Phishing scams: Do NOT respond to emails, text messages, and phone calls that advertise the sale of gift cards, holiday gifts, promotions, contests or jobs.
- Be wary of holiday offers for free items: Avoid tempting holiday offers, such as free downloadable applications for smartphones, antivirus software, screen savers, ring-tones and electronic greeting cards, which may be infected with viruses and/or malware. Be wary of shopping online at Craigslist and public auction sites: You might purchase merchandise that will never be never delivered! Please follow best practices published by Craigslist and other public auction websites to avoid scams.
- Be wary of social media scams: Fraudsters often place bogus advertisements for free prizes on social media sites. Do NOT respond to these ads.
- Bogus charity scams: Confirm the legitimacy of any charity through the Better Business Bureau.
- Monitor accounts: Periodically monitor your deposit and credit card accounts to identify any unauthorized transactions. Immediately report unauthorized transactions to your financial institution.
Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or call (877) FTC-HELP (877/382-4357)