The holidays are meant to be a joyous and giving time of year, but keep an eye out for the Grinch’s frauds and scams. Follow our tips to ensure your holidays stay safe and merry.
While shopping online and via mobile, be wary of cybercrime.
- Do not respond to unsolicited spam email and do not click on links in those emails; be cautious of and do not open attached files from unknown senders; never put your credit card information in an email; and contact businesses that supposedly sent the email to verify that the email is genuine.
- Don’t enter any personal information or credit card information unless you are on a secured website. Look for the padlock icon next to the URL in the address bar or at the status bar at the bottom of your browser, depending on what internet browser you use. If you don’t see the padlock, don’t submit any personal information.
- If you receive a request for personal information from any business or financial institution, contact them directly to verify the request is legitimate.
- Don’t use your credit card when utilizing public Wi-Fi. If you connect your phone, tablet or laptop to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, and send information through websites or apps, that information could be accessed by someone else.
Don’t fall for the package delivery scam.
If you receive an email with the subject line (or similar subject line) “USPS Failed Delivery Notification,” do not open the email or click on any links. The emails claim to be from the postal service (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.), contain fraudulent information about an attempted or intercepted package delivery, and instruct you to click on a link. Clicking this link activates a virus which can steal personal information.
Watch out for gift card scams.
Typically, the safest way to buy gift cards is directly from the merchant or retail store. Cards bought through online auction sites are often stolen or fraudulent. But you also have to be careful when buying gift cards from the store as well. Thieves can write down the code or scan the magnetic strip on the back of the gift cards available on racks, and then redeem that card online without the gift recipient’s knowledge. When buying a preloaded card, have the cashier scan the card to make sure the full amount is available. And if the gift card’s packaging is damaged, it’s also a good sign the card may have been tampered with.
Be wary of charity scams.
Unfortunately, there are thieves out there looking to take advantage of our goodwill. When giving to charities this holiday season, avoid any that:
- Refuse to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, or how the donation will be used
- Won’t provide proof that a donation contribution is tax deductible
- Tries to get you to donate immediately, without giving you adequate time to research and think it over
- Asks for you to wire money or donate in cash
- Thanks you for a pledge you haven’t made
- Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation
- Offers to send an overnight delivery service or courier to collect the donation immediately
For more security tips and tricks, visit our Security Center at www.sandia.org/security.
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