Unity One Credit Union informs its members and friends of simple steps for holiday-related identity theft prevention. According to CNBC, here are four tips for more safe holiday shopping:
1. Bogus websites with screaming deals: It's a holiday tradition—identity thieves create bogus sites with beautiful graphics and amazingly low prices on popular, but nonexistent digital devices. Take the bait and you won't get your merchandise and the crooks will have your credit card number and other personal information.
Protect yourself: Do your homework. If this is your first interaction with a new merchant, check them out before you provide any personal information. How long have they been around? Are they rated by the Better Business Bureau? Beware of prices that are significantly cheaper than everywhere else. It could be a trap.
2. Digital greeting cards loaded with merry malware: You expect to get holiday e-cards from friends and family. Identity thieves send out seasonal greetings, too. But theirs are loaded with viruses and other malware. Their spambots use social media sites to send booby-trapped greeting cards that look like they're from someone you know.
Protect yourself: Don't click the links in the body of an email alerting you to an e-card and don't open any attachment. You can always check to see if that person really did send you a card. The safest way to get an e-card is to go to the greeting card company's site and put in the card number listed in the email.
3. Bogus shipping notices: If you shop online and are expecting a package, a shipping notice doesn't seem that unusual. That's why the bad guys send out bogus shipping alerts designed to look like they're from FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. They're hoping you'll click on the link which loads malware on to your machine or takes you to a phishing website they've created.
Protect yourself: Only use tracking numbers provided to you in the initial email you get right after you make the purchase. Go to the store's website to track any packages you're expecting.
4. Fake Black Friday or Cyber Monday ads: It's always fun to see the leaked ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That's why scammers create fake leaked ads. They contain links that direct you to a fraudulent website that installs malware.
Protect yourself: Stick with reputable sites that specialize in Black Friday ads.