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Smart Shopper: Black Friday Scams

Cyber Security Updates

The unofficial official shopping season starts this week, and if there is a sale, there might be a scam close by. As the prices go down, so does our guard. We fear losing out on a deal and can act without thinking. A few quick reminders to stay cyber-safe.

Fraudulent Websites

Don’t be quick to click when you get that email or text announcing the “biggest savings of the year!”. If you are interested in the promotion that you see, go to the retailer’s home page and look for the sale there. In this age of phishing scams, companies are unlikely to make it a ‘click only’ access knowing that is often the way that cybercriminals work. If it is indeed only accessible via the link, call the store first and verify its legitimacy. Do not call the phone number provided in the message (if there is one). Again, always go to the store or company directly.

Socially Safe

Secret Santa or other online giving groups are fun – if you know everyone involved. But large online gift exchanges that can be found on social platforms are not always a great idea to get involved with. If you’re looking to spread some holiday cheer to strangers, might we suggest going to a local food shelter or soup kitchen instead? Online engagement with strangers looking for goodwill is an easy entry point for cyber criminals to prey upon your good intentions. Align yourself with a reputable charity to see how you can give back. And if you must use social media, put an ask out to your friends for suggestions of groups that they work with. Time with friends and giving back – that’s a gift bonus!

Credit Card Skimming

This evolving tactic of cybercrime is when existing credit card readers are outfitted with a skimmer. This is the actual hardware that looks legit but captures your information instead. This fraudulent hardware skims your card information, stealing it from you, and payment from the retailer. Malware can also skim your information from websites and can be harder to detect. One recommendation to reduce your risk is to not keep your credit card information stored on a retailer’s website. Using third-party payment options like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, or PayPal would be recommended instead. And always activate the alerts that your credit card company provides. These can be tailored for location, amount, or all activity.

Stay Safe & Smart

It only takes one mishap to ruin your holiday season. Spend your time with friends and family and not dealing with the damage from a criminal. If you need more tips on how to protect small businesses, Breach Secure Now is here to help!

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