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Holiday Shopping? Safety Tips to Avoid Scam Artists

Cyber Security
Avoid falling victim to identify theft this holiday season by taking steps to protect your personal information.

Avoid falling victim to identify theft this holiday season by taking steps to protect your personal information.

As technology advances and becomes more powerful, the need to combat hackers and scam artists after your personal and public information on the Internet by taking security measures becomes increasingly necessary. During the holiday season, many people all over the world fall victim to identity theft and unexplainable missing or frozen funds. This can be especially traumatic during this time because many people have spent all year long saving money to make gift-giving season for their children and loved ones as hassle-free as possible. The tips below will help you avoid falling victim to a scam artist this winter.

Mobile Devices

It is becoming increasingly popular to avoid packed shopping malls during the holidays and shop for your loved ones from the comfort of your home or another location that doesn’t involve dealing with merchandise hands-on. According to the cyber security company LogRhythm, cyber crime levels rise during the holiday season because several people now shop from mobile devices (which commonly offer less protection than traditional computers).

  • Tip: If you’re going to shop from your mobile device, avoid doing it on a public Wi-Fi connection such as those at coffee shops and libraries. Additionally, avoid logging into your bank account or engaging in financial transactions from these hot spots.

Emails In Disguise

One of the most common and effective ways a scammer can get your personal information is to ask for it in disguise. Generally, a victim receives an email that claims to be from their bank, a retailer or another company. Once opened, the email directs them to another site that captures their personal information. Remember, your personal contacts are also susceptible to scam artists and a familiar name is not enough to warrant an email safe. Holiday e-cards have also been found to download viruses on your computer as you download them.

  • Tip: Avoid clicking on hyperlinks within the emails you receive, even if the logo or name appears to be identical to the person, company or bank they are representing. Only open e-cards from very well known sources. First, hover over the link to make sure it is going to direct you to a valid and secure address.

Theft and Password Protection

Every day, people misplace or lose their cell phones. If you’re in a shopping frenzy at the mall, it may be easier for you to misplace yours as you set it down in dressing rooms or to sift through clothes and other items.

  • Tip: Enable the password lock feature on your smartphone. While it may not protect you completely, it is going to add an extra level of security that will make it harder for a thief to access your private data or photos. It is also a good idea to upgrade all of your online passwords for more strength. Avoid using short, common words and try to integrate capital numbers and symbols. And remember, using one password for several different websites invites a scam artist to easily hack into all of your important accounts.

Don’t Fall For the Free Stuff

Pop-ups or messages on social media (even from “friends”) insinuating that you’ve won an expensive item can be tempting during the holiday season when we all feel like we could stand to find use for an iPad, iPhone or restaurant gift certificate. If an offer presents itself in an unfamiliar fashion and seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Tip: Do not click fake prize-related alerts of any kind. Before clicking the link in a Tweet or Facebook message from a “friend” or follower, think to yourself: Has this “friend” ever shared or expressed interest in an offer like this before? Have they ever sent me any past messages? If the answer is no, they are likely a victim to hacking and you should erase the message immediately without clicking into it.


Let Working Nets Be Of Cyber Service To You


Do you need help with computer maintenance or IT issues? Working Nets can help. When you’ve got an issue, or you’re ready to update your software, give us a call!

We can help you get your computers and networks up to speed with the latest and greatest software. There’s no need to struggle in silence. Call one of the leading IT management businesses in your area and get the answers you need.  Outsourcing your IT can give you peace of mind and allow you to take care of the things that are important for your company. To talk to someone about managed IT for your business, give us a call at (443) 992-7394.

We’d be happy to assist you with your professional business networking needs. Working Nets is a Maryland based IT Service and Security company that services small businesses nationwide. Contact us to find out how we can be of cyber-service to you! You can also visit WorkingNets.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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