Three Scams to Look Out for This Holiday Season
Social media is a great way stay connected with loved ones, especially during the holidays. But make no mistake; the landscape of social media has changed. Cyber criminals have found a way to infiltrate social media sites to their benefit. Fake ads have been at the forefront recently and it’s important to pay attention to what you click on in your feed. Many times, the ad looks like a deal that is just too good to be true and, normally, that’s because it is. During the holidays, you may see ads that promote cheap airline tickets and low cost electronics. Clicking on one of these ads may cause your computer or device to be infected with malware or a virus, oftentimes going undetected. The harmful software could lurk in the background and track your every key stroke, providing the cybercriminal with passwords and other important information that will allow access to private accounts. Before falling for the bait, do some research to ensure the ad is coming from a legitimate source. Don’t just assume that because it is on a well-known social media platform that it has been vetted.
Did you know about 75% of shoppers use their smart devices or computers to look for coupons while shopping in a store or online before making a purchase? Hackers are well aware of this fact and have bombarded the Internet with fake coupons. Embedded in the images of those fake coupons are viruses or malicious links. Receiving text and email coupons from merchants is not uncommon, but it is normally the consumer who has initiated these by signing up for that service. If you don’t remember signing up for those alerts or are not sure if you did, it is better to err on the side of caution and delete the text or email.
Most malicious apps look legitimate and some may even be copycats of known stores. Downloading a fake app can have detrimental effects. Personal and sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands. Before you click download or install, take a pause to make sure you are not being duped. First, evaluate the source of the download. You must also look for red flags like apps that only have mobile sites. Also check the app’s ratings and reviews. Lean towards the apps that have the most downloads and if you are still in doubt check the website of the app.
Make sure your antivirus software is updated on all devices. That is oftentimes the first line of defense against a hacker. Be wary when using public hotspots, as you don’t know if there is a criminal preying on this traffic.
Taking these extra security steps can help to ensure that your holidays are not only fun but safe!
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