Tag Archives: holidays

‘Tis the Season for Phishing for Families

Hackers might not take a break from trying to find ways to steal your information and money, but it turns out they do follow seasonal trends. According to a report by Kaspersky Lab, in October, phishing attempts on social networks were down 10%, and they saw an increase in attacks on financial institutions or banks and on online shops. They say that’s an expected trend through the holiday season, based on data from last year.

Summer time bring attacks on kids

During the summer months and holidays, hackers target kids who are out of school and likely don’t know better than to click bad links on social networks. Kids are also more likely to over share private information online, making them a prime target for scammers. Most of the younger generation hasn’t yet learned to be skeptical of deals that are too good, and that can get them into serious trouble. Once school starts again, the phishing attempts via email slow down, while the hackers move toward more promising targets.

Holiday shopping online makes a tempting target for hackers

When the holiday season rolls around, Continue reading ‘Tis the Season for Phishing for Families

Traveling for the holidays? Prevent Credit Card Fraud and Save Money

The holiday season is one for joyful celebration, thankfulness, and traveling to visit loved ones. During your travels, you might be tempted by a low posted price at the gas station, but make sure to pay attention to what your fuel is really costing you.

Debit and Credit Cards Can Increase Prices

Often, fuel prices posted on the main signs show the cash only price, and the station could charge as much as 10-15 cents more per gallon for the convenience of swiping your card at the pump. While stations are required to post the increased price of credit and debit card transactions, the label is usually as small as a normal 4×6 photograph!

Gas stations often will put a hold on your card when you swipe for fill-up, and this can be as much as $75 for several days. You can avoid the hold if you go inside and specify how much you want the card run for.

You can avoid the higher cost by using only cash, or you can purchase prepaid cards from the gas station before you go. If you do opt to buy the prepaid cards, make sure to map out your route and make sure you’ll be able to find those stations along your route.

Be Watchful For Signs of Fraud

Electronic skimmers have been around for a long time, but the devices are well camouflaged and often pass unnoticed. Thieves install the small devices into existing card readers, which collect card information whenever a card is swiped. Don’t use any card reader that appears to be loose or damaged, and look out for signs of tampering. Going inside to pay minimizes the risk of having your card numbers stolen by these devices.

Some gas stations have added special stickers that are designed to show if a pump or card reader has been tampered with, so be sure to pay attention to these also.

Cash is Safest

Not only will cash get you the low price that attracted your business in the first place, but it will protect your identity and avoid problems with your accounts being overcharged or overdrawn. It might be inconvenient to go inside to pay, but it’s far better than the work of repairing your identity.

Your holiday travel plans don’t have to increase your risk of credit card fraud or identity theft. With a little pre-planning and a healthy dose of caution, you can enjoy your trip and protect your good name.


Safer Online Shopping: Tips for Protecting Yourself This Holiday Season

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, many shoppers are planning to shop online. Online shopping can net you some great deals, but it can also lead to identity theft. With a little caution, you can protect yourself and still get great deals!

How to Protect Yourself

Ideally, the least amount of personal information you share is best, which is why using prepaid cards works well. You can purchase these cards in most stores, either with cash or credit. They aren’t connected to any of your personal accounts, so they limit the amount of information a hacker can access about you.

If you do use your credit or debit cards online, don’t wait for your bank and credit card statements to come in the mail. Log on often to check for any charges you haven’t authorized, and if you see questionable activity, even for a small amount, call the bank or credit card company right away. Thieves sometimes do a test run with a small purchase to see if they can get away with it before really racking up the bill. The faster you catch them, the less damage you will have to work to undo.

One of the easiest ways to protect your information is to use better passwords. Your password should be difficult to guess, and shouldn’t use personal information like names and birthdays. Also, use a unique password at each site you use so that if one is compromised, only that site is affected.

Use only sites you trust when shopping online. Nearly every big name store has a website now, making it easier than ever to shop online without going to questionable vendors. Just be sure to verify the site address is correct, because hackers can make some pretty clever copies and fool shoppers by using a slight variation in the URL.

Avoid deals that promise too much for too little. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Deals that offer you expensive things for almost nothing are usually a phishing attempt to get your information. No, you most likely can’t get an iPad free, and these are usually scams to try to part you from your money and personal info.

Finally, use a quality anti-virus and malware program. Not keeping your computer protected exposes anything you do on it to possible thieves, meaning they can track your every digital movement. There are several quality programs that can protect your computer, even some that are free, and they can save you a big headache. Not only will preventing malware from infecting your computer help you protect your information, but it can also keep your computer running.