Monday, November 26, 2012
Just as you’re seeking the best online deals during the holidays, others may be taking advantage of your giving spirit in the latest phishing scams.
“Criminals know we are all out to make our budgets stretch as far as possible, and get the best deals on holiday goods,” said Laura Heilman, security awareness training and education manager with Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS) in the Office of Information Security at the University of Georgia. “Phishing and other online scams are prevalent during the holidays.”
And as someone who trains and educates folks on cyber security issues, she offers a few tips for avoiding phishing and online scams. Much of her holiday-themed advice comes from the anti-phishing firm Wombat Security Technologies.
To avoid phishing and other online scams, Heilman offers the following advice:
If the card is supposedly from someone you know, you can contact that person to make sure it actually came from them before you decide to retrieve the card. If they did not send it, simply delete it. It is better to do that than run the risk of infecting your machine with software that might spy on you, steal your account login information, or tamper with your data.
How? Look for the “https:” in the shopping site's URL or a lock symbol, either to the left of URL in the address bar, or near the bottom of your browser window. Also, avoid using your debit card when shopping online. It is directly connected to your bank account and may not carry the same level of consumer protection as your credit card.
These few preventative steps can help protect you during the holiday season.