Security Tips

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 4:47pm -- Jvillage

As Hanukkah approaches and the major department stores prepare for their busiest season, it’s important to remain vigilant as a consumer. Online shoppers beware as Internet hoaxes and scam artists are already hard at work. Below are our suggestions on how to protect yourself and your bank account from online shopping scams. We encourage you to share these tips with your members: 

  1. Don’t use public or open WiFi when shopping or using your credit card. This means be extra careful at airports, Starbucks, and public places. Avoid checking your bank balance on public computers. Hackers are now setting up their own Wi-Fi networks that look remarkably similar to trusted ones and they wait to steal your credit card data. If you use a Wi-Fi connection in a public place, it is better not to use your credit card.

  2. Avoid too-good-to-be-true Black Friday deals.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest online shopping days and scammers know that. Don't buy anything at a price that seems too good to be true. A free Apple watch or tablet? We think not. There’s a lot of coupons that will become available. Before you buy anything, make sure the offers are from a legitimate company. Additionally, fake refunds are another type of common scam. If you get an email from Amazon or a retail chain claiming there was a “"wrong transaction" and the email asks you to "click for refund," your device could be infected with malware.

  3. Be careful with e-cards. Yes, Happy Hanukkah e-cards are fun, but malicious e-cards are not. Don’t open any e-cards unless you know who they’re from. Malware or phishing scams are possible.

  4. Watch where you are sending your cheer to. The holidays are traditionally a time of giving tzedekah, but making donations to the wrong website will only bring tsuris. If any charity or other non-profit asks for a contribution via phone, email, text, and tweets, make sure they are legitimate organizations. It’s always a good idea to contact the charity first to make sure the request did in fact come from them. It is safest to only donate to charities you already know such as the Jewish National Fund or Hazon.

  5. Lastly, be aware of work-from-home scams. This method of identity theft is becoming more popular. The most innocent of these make you fill out a form where you give out confidential information like your Social Security number which will get your identity stolen. The worst of them offer you work where you launder money from a cyberheist which can get you into major trouble.

From all of us at Jvillage, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable shopping season!

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