Avoid Getting Scammed This Holiday Season

Posted: November 07, 2018 | Author: Lexi Carter | Read Time: 2 minutes

Student working on their laptopWe are quickly approaching one of the busiest times of the year for online shopping, and scammers know it. The FBI is warning U.S. citizens to beware and be cautious of all online shopping and business transactions. Everyday personal information is gathered through innocent email opens or link clicks.

Southern Utah University’s Director of IT Security Mark Walton works to protect campus employees from all types of cyber attacks. In his November 2018 monthly newsletter to the university, he sheds light on online shopping and different strategies people use to scam buyers during the holidays.

Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed online:

  • Make sure all of your computer software is up-to-date and running current versions, including your web browser and anti-virus software.
  • Ensure your accounts on shopping sites are using good account hygiene. This includes strong passphrases (unique to each site) and the use of multi-factor authentication on those sites that support it.
  • If you're shopping on lesser known websites, do a little research and check the reputability of the site. Criminals will often create fake online stores that offer to sell items at a significant discount to get you to buy, but then never deliver the goods.
  • Be careful of links and attachments in unsolicited emails that potentially could be phishing.
  • Be cautious of what kinds of personal information that you provide to a site. Don't provide more information than what is required. If you feel they're getting a little too personal, shop someplace else.
  • Check your account balances often to reconcile charges to actual purchases.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card.
  • Make sure that any site you visit begins with "https:" instead of "http:". The "s" in "https" stands for secure and uses encrypted methods of transmission.
  • Look out for emails or texts that might contain fake shipping notices or notices of cancellation. With so many online orders being placed, scammers will try and get you to act before you have a chance to think.
  • Be careful of advertisements or sites offering hard-to-get items or significant discounts.

We hope you have a happy (and safe) holiday season!

SUU’s Master of Cyber Security and Information Alliance program trains students in defending networks from external threats and gives experience in counterintelligence, defense, homeland security, and law enforcement.

Tags: Computer Science Cyber Security College of Science and Engineering

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