’Tis the Season for Fraud
The scammers are out in full force this holiday season. In fact, 56% of Americans say they have experienced fraud in the last 24 months. In 2020, there were over $154 million reported in losses with the US having the highest number of reported fraud by e-consumers. To make matters worse there is an increase in the total amount lost by victims.*
Fraudsters have continued to build profiles and portfolios based on their victims through various forms of communication including social media platforms, emails, text, phone calls, or through the mail. Taking the time to think before clicking on attachments or URL links to random sites and beware of who is sending the information is extremely important. If the information in the post, email or site looks too good to be true or doesn’t quite seem right, click out of it immediately. Also, watch your mailbox during the holidays and shred any credit card, bank or investment statements, including junk mail such as pre-approved offers or credit.
Protect yourself by using strong passwords that are at least 11 characters in length with case-sensitive alpha-numeric characters and one symbol. Don’t use the same password for multiple sites used to conduct online transactions. Be sure your home computer is protected with a firewall and antivirus, also install operating system patches when available. Avoid using public Wi-Fi and public computers to conduct online transactions. Be wary of what you are saying and sharing on social media. Faudsters want to gather your information in an attempt to impersonate you, stealing your identity. Never share anything related to your financial account, banking history or identifying information in unprotected public forums.
Recognizing scams can be tricky but you can minimize the impact remembering what to look for, taking the right action steps and being watchful this holiday season. As a final point, review and monitor your accounts including your statements and credit reports often and immediately report any discrepancies to your financial institution.*E Mrkonjic, October 11, 2021, 21+ Shocking Scams You Need to Read in 2021,