‘Tis the season – for online scamming. Economists agree the 2020 holiday season will set records in online shopping: up to $189 billion and 18 separate days where online purchases exceed $3 billion. The previous record was just 3 days over $3 billion. Criminals around the world know that this is the best time of year to steal information from the uptick in online American transactions.
To protect yourself this holiday season, use the following rules when shopping online:
Don’t shop on public WiFi
Only shop when you are on a private and secure network. If that isn’t possible, only make purchases or enter private information when using a virtual private connection (VPN). Most smartphones have a VPN setting. Public WiFi networks are targets for hackers who know their vulnerabilities and use them to intercept data like passwords, credit card numbers, and whatever else they can.
Avoid non-secure websites
Secure websites are labeled with an s, as in “https”. Non-secure websites start with “http”. Some browsers show a locked symbol 🔒 at the left side of the url bar to indicate the website is secure. Always double check a website’s security before starting a transaction or inputting personal data.
Use your credit card, not debit card
Most credit cards offer zero-liability policies that protect credit card holders from being held responsible for fraudulent transactions. In line with their policy, they have added security built in to protect against scammers and bogus purchases. This isn’t true with all debit cards. Even when it is, your attached checking account is likely to be without the stolen balance while the bank completes its own investigation.
Be skeptical of amazing bargains
“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” This old saying still holds merit. Recent phishing scams on Facebook have included unbelievable discounts for Keen sandals and Ray Ban sunglasses. Most folks realize something is wrong with these well-known, respected brands being listed at 75% and more off, but many people fall for it and enter their information.
After the holidays is a good time to look for anything out of the ordinary on your credit report. The credit reporting bureaus offer a once-annual free copy. If someone has stolen your personal information to obtain a loan or line of credit, you will see it on your credit report and can take action.
Identity theft is a serious crime that can have long-lasting negative implications for victims. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman are experienced in these matters. We specialize in the processes necessary to help you repair your credit, clear your name, and restore your reputation. Our team of experts will review your case to see what legal action can be taken, including prosecution, recovering lost funds, and seeking damages from the offending party.
If you have experienced identity theft, get help from The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman today.