Tis the season for stealing that large slice of PII (personally identifiable information). Cyber Criminals are out in full force this holiday season and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching, your information has NEVER been at greater risk. Scams, hacking attempts, and credit card fraud is at an all time high. According to the Identify Theft Resource Center, there have been 873 breaches so far this year and 29,865,748 accounts of PII exposed. Furthermore, some experts believe credit card theft will approach $4 billion dollars this year alone. So before you hit the “purchase button,” the staff at AVATAR asks you to take a minute and consider the following steps:
- Are you on a secure network? – Don’t cyber shop at your favorite coffee house. There’s a very real chance the network is not secure!
- Is this website safe to buy from? – Things to look for include a small padlock symbol in the address bar. And if you were led there through a pop up ad, think twice! Those are a one-way “clickit” to scam city.
- Check if there’s a physical address. – Many scams will not list a physical address on their site. There’s no guarantee but always a good thing to check.
- Are there reviews from other customers and have their experiences been good? – No customer feedback – the deal might be too good to be true.
- Check out RipoffReport.com or other consumer reporting websites.
- If shopping at a retail outlet, use chip technology! – There’s been a significant increase in credit card fraud as cards migrate to chip technology. Criminals are trying to cash in before the migration is completed.
- Think twice before using your debit card at gas stations, restaurants, and other vulnerable POS machines. – Skimmers continue to improve their tactics and will be in full force this holiday season.
- If possible, use the credit option over debit option – Compromised debit transactions may not be covered by your bank whereas the issuers of credit cards will cover any fraudulent charges.
- Consider changing your PIN # after the holiday season.
- Don’t fall for holiday phone scams. In other words, don’t make purchases over the phone.
Want a cheap gift idea? Send this blog around to your friends and family to help protect them against credit card theft.