Fraudsters know that some of the greatest opportunities to commit theft occur during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Consumers do not only have to worry about double-swiped credit cards at checkout and phone or email scams. Criminals study consumer buying habits and use those habits against them during the holidays.
Here are the top three worst habits:
Shoppers are more likely to forget important safety and security habits when rushing around during the holidays. Always hold on to anything that might contain identifying information about you or property, including shopping bags, phones, wallets and purses. Additionally, pay close attention when you park your car and pump gas. Many criminals look for unlocked cars this time of year.
Some shoppers are so obsessed with the cheapest deals that they ignore common sense and known security risks when shopping online. They click links in emails and pick the cheapest deals even when the sources of these supposed deals are unfamiliar merchants. Fraudsters then steal their identities or banking information through phishing sites or perform payment scams where they take orders, forward the orders to known merchants and then keep the payments for themselves.
Now more than ever before, shoppers are depending on portable devices, the internet and apps to help them find great deals. Criminals use this dependence to their advantage by hacking portable devices in public places where shoppers use free WiFi to get updates about real-time deals and coupons. They also create fake shopping and merchant apps that collect personal information. To block thieves, never use portable devices through unsecured public networks, change passwords after every shopping trip and only install apps from verified merchant websites.
You do not need to become a victim. To stop fraudsters from ruining your fun over the holidays, always attempt to keep yourself aware of your environment and your actions and curb any impulsive and bad shopping and technology habits.