Credit union informs: Prevent holiday-related identity theft

Holiday fraud preventionUnity 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.

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Credit union informs: Safe Online Shopping

Unity One Credit Union informs its members and friends of ways amp up their cybersecurity and protect themselves. According to StaySafeOnline.org, powered by the CyberSecurity Alliance, here are the top tips for safe online shopping:

  • Keep a Clean Machine. All devices (desktops, tablets, phones, etc.) that you use for shopping should have up-to-date security software, operating systems, programs and apps.safe online shopping
  • "When in Doubt, Throw it Out!" Links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising are often ways that cyberthieves compromise your info.
  • Get Savvy about FREE Wifi. Don't share info over an unsecured network. Using direct web access on your device is safer, in most cases.
  • Make Sure the Site is Legit. This includes a closed padlock on the Web browser's address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
  • Protect Your Personal Info. Only fill out required fields on the checkout forms. Also, don't forget to check the site's privacy policy so that you know how your information will be used.
  • Use Safe Payment Options. Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek credit from the issuer if the product isn't delivered or isn't what was ordered. 
  • Keep a Paper Trail. Save records of your online purchases, including the product description, price, terms of sale, etc. Read your credit card statements as well to track unauthorized charges.

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