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Protect Yourself from Online Scams this Holiday Season

December 08, 2022
When shopping online this holiday season, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from scams and deals that seem too good to be true.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2021 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $337 million and credit card fraud accounted for another $173 million in losses.
To keep your spirits merry and bright, check out these tips and common scams to be aware of:

1. Master the basics of cybersecurity: The most effective way to avoid falling victim to a scam is to be prepared on what to look out for.
  • Beware of phishing scams. Avoid clicking on suspicious links in emails, text messages, websites, and social media.
  • Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request, either over the phone or online – scammers may ask for confidential information such as your passwords, Social Security number, debit card information, or bank account number.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop or access sensitive information. 
  • Learn more about common scams and basic precautions to take.
2. eSkimming: The FBI has issued warnings in the past about hackers infiltrating online shopping carts to steal personal information, including credit and debit cards. This scam is known as eSkimming, and it occurs when cybercriminals inject malicious code onto a website in order to gain access to the sensitive information. eSkimming is specifically targeted to small and medium-sized businesses, like retailers, that take credit card payments online. While it’s not possible for consumers to know if a site has been targeted, it is the responsibility of the business to protect themselves and their employees from falling victim to phishing attacks or vulnerabilities that allow malware to get in. Consumers can be proactive by keeping anti-virus and anti-malware software up-to-date.

3. Know where you’re buying from: Fake websites and apps are increasingly common and consumers should be cautious of ones that look similar to actual retail websites. Scammers have also developed fake apps that inject malware onto your device and once downloaded, may steal your personal information or lock your device, requiring a ransom to be paid in order for it to be unlocked. Be on the lookout for typos and poor grammar, which may indicate that the app or website is illegitimate.

4. Package Delivery Confirmation Scams: Scammers may call or send an email claiming to be from the U.S. Postal Office. They will ask for personal information that they could then use to open fraudulent credit cards in your name. For more information, please visit the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Crime Alert.

5Be mindful of how you pay: Never wire funds directly to the seller or use a prepaid gift card as payment. Both of these payment methods make it easy for a scammer to walk away with your money without you ever receiving your purchase.
If you believe that you may be a victim of identity theft or fraud involving one of your Middlesex Savings Bank accounts, please call the Information Center at 1-877-463-6287 inside the U.S. or Canada. Outside the U.S., please call 1-508-599-5999
For more information on holiday scams, please visit the FBI’s website.
by Middlesex Savings Bank