Submitted by Linda Carleton, Client Services Support, November 22, 2017

If you are one of the many people shopping online this holiday season, please take note of these reminders to help protect yourself from holiday scams:

Holiday Phishing Scams

Keep an eye out for these six holiday threats:

  1. Fake purchase invoices: Be aware of unexpected receipts received via email from retailers where you do not shop. If you receive these emails, do not click on them as they may be malicious and could contain malware.
    • Shipping status notifications: Watch out for fake shipping notifications received via email. Confirm you’ve actually placed an online order before clicking on a shipping alert. Do not click on links in shipping emails; instead go directly to the shipping provider’s website (e.g. UPS, USPS, FedEx) and type in your tracking number to access tracking information.
  2. Email deals: Not all discounts and sales received via email and social advertisements are legitimate. Look for unexpected deals or product promotions from retailers you’ve never shopped.
  3. Holiday e-cards: Make sure you recognize the sender before clicking on a link inside an e-card.
  4. Holiday party invitations: Look out for email invites that ask you to download attachments or plug-ins as these may contain malicious software like ransomware or spyware.
  5. Pay more attention to email links and URLs: Do not let the hectic holiday season bring your guard down. Always hover over links on webpages and emails to verify the sender and the website before clicking on any links.

Online Shopping Tips

  • Look for signs that your information is secure when making an online purchase.
  • Shop well-known, large retailers or stores you know are generally the safest.
  • Use a credit card, rather than your debit card, as it’s easier to deal with fraudulent purchases.
  • Create strong passwords by including a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters.

Safe Shopping Awareness

Whether on campus, at home or at the mall, it’s important to keep these tips top-of-mind when shopping for holiday treasures:

  • If you’re using an ATM, ensure your password and account information are out-of-sight.
  • Be alert and attentive to your surroundings at all times.
  • Keep valuables out of sight (i.e. packages, shopping bags, etc.).
  • Always lock your purse or wallet in a secure area of your desk (or home).
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash.
  • Always lock your car doors.

Additional Reminders

  • Fake surveys: Surveys received via email promising money or gift cards in exchange for completing the survey can be a scam. These surveys will often ask for personal information which is what the attackers are seeking.
  • Keep an eye on your bank accounts: Closely monitor your bank accounts for purchases you may not have made. It only takes one store, gas station or an ATM with a card scanner in place for your credentials to be compromised.