Stay Safe at Christmas

For the majority, Christmas is a time for giving, but many scammers increase their efforts around the Christmas period and see it as a chance to get hold of our hard earned cash.

We have picked out a variety of famous Christmas scams to give you guys a better chance of avoiding these nasty tricks.

Fake charity appeals
If you get an email asking for donations, apparently from a recognised charity, proceed with caution. Reputable charities never ask for money via email, so any website you are directed to will probably be designed to collect your personal and banking details. There are plenty of worthy causes to support this time of year, so make sure donations are going to the right ones. Whether giving online or through text messaging, thoroughly review the charity, look at the organization’s privacy policy and verify if it has appropriate security measures in place to protect transactions. To review charity evaluations, visit www.bbb.org/charity.

Wi-Fi Scams
Sitting in a coffee shop surfing the Internet is not always as handy as it might seem. Make sure the wireless network is password protected, or someone might just be using specialist software to gain access to your passwords and personal details. If you are logging in to email or online banking from an unsecured, public network, you are asking for trouble.

Themed attachments and ‘spam’
Unsolicited email should always be treated with suspicion, more so in over the Christmas season. Any email from a sender you do not know, and which asks you to visit a website or open an attachment is probably not the festive fun it claims to be:

    • Ensure you have a spam filtering service active on your email account and if you do receive any spam mail, do not open any attachments or click on any links.
    • Notify your contacts that your account is sending out spam messages and for them not to open any short, non-titled or unusually titled emails from you and to ensure that any spam emails they receive are marked as spam and then deleted.
    • Ensure your anti-virus and spyware software is up to date and run a scan to check for any issues

Laptop theft
If you are going away for Christmas, lock away your laptop. If it is stolen, the chances are the thief will find a way to access your passwords and personal details, then have a merry old time spending your money.

“Smishing”
You’ve heard of phishing? “Smishing” is when a phishing SMS, or text messages, gets sent to your phone. “These texts appear to come from your bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with an account and you have to call a number to verify your account information. In reality, these efforts are merely a ruse to extract valuable personal information from the targets,” McAfee says.

You should be extra vigilant over the Christmas period. If something looks to go to be true, it probably is. So make sure you carry out research before providing anyone with your personal or payment details.
Stay Safe & Stay Aware

1 comment

  1. Anne M Kirchner commented on December 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you very much for this information. Very enlightening and I’m really happy that I’ve opened this garlik account! Thank you garlik!

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