Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune
During the holidays, shoppers tend to be more susceptible to scams. Fraud can happen to anyone at any time. It is important to make sure that you are prepared and that you know what to do if fraud crosses your path. The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to know what signs to look for and what to do in order to protect your personal information. Here are a few tips to remember:
Don’t Trust Every Call, Text, Or Email You Receive
If you receive a call or text from an unknown number or even a number you know and trust, be on alert with the questions you are being asked. Fraudsters are known for mimicking numbers you know and asking the right questions to access your bank account or personal information.
Set Up Activity Alerts For Your Credit & Debit Cards
When you are on the go during the holidays, you are not always stopping to check your recent transactions or double check your receipts. Setting up notifications that will alert you about activity on your debit or credit card can help you catch fraud when it happens. This will allow you to deactivate your credit or debit card before the fraudulent activity goes any further.
Never Send Or Receive Money From An Unknown Source
If you’re asked to transfer money to someone you don’t know, chances are that you are in the middle of a scam. Remember, only accept checks or money orders from trusted sources. While this could be disguised as a trusted company on the phone or a friend on social media, look for all of the the signs that point to this being illegitimate and stop the conversation immediately. If something seems off, it probably is!
Think Twice About Public Wi-Fi
Stopping for a coffee break while shopping? It might seem harmless to connect to a public Wi-Fi source to access your account for 30 seconds, but sometimes that is all of the time it takes for a hacker to do serious damage. Always think twice about connecting to a public internet source. Thirty seconds could turn into a long-lasting headache.
Use Strong Passwords
Don’t make passwords easy to guess with personal information in your passwords, such as your own name or the name of your pet. . This information is often easy to find on social media, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
Use a long passphrase, such as a phrase from a song.
Symbols help. Incorporating numbers and symbols, such as $, %, @ (and others), help to make your password even stronger.
Get creative. Having different passwords for various accounts helps to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts. And, it protects you from a security breach.