Monday, December 19, 2016

Smart Safety: Don't Get Swiped

Tis the season for hackers and scammers.  Cybersecurity expert Adam Levin just released his new book "Swiped", which is already an Amazon Best Seller Hot New Release.  Levin gives helpful consumer tips to stay cyber safe during the holidays and avoid those Cyber Grinches out to steal your cash and holiday cheer.

Levin's tips to stay cyber safe so you don't get Swiped!

To avoid gift card fraud, buy cards from behind the store counter, don't use cards where the strip has been tampered with and avoid buying gift cards from third party retailers.
If you get an unsolicited call, email or text regarding a special offer or from your bank, hang up and don't respond.  Only authenticate yourself when you are in control of the conversation.
Check your credit.  Check your accounts on a daily basis to look for any suspicious activity.  Sign up for transactional monitoring from your bank.

Think before you click that link. Don't click on links or attachments
Use legitimate shopping apps by going to official app stores.  Look for bad reviews, spelling errors and avoid third party apps.  Go to the official website of the retailer.  Look for the lock and HTTPS which alerts you that the site is secure and not a clone site.
When shopping online, use a credit card instead of debit card.  With a credit card it's their money and 0 liability, with a debit card it's your money.  Opt for a virtual credit card for an added layer of protection, which uses a temporary credit card number that does not expose your real credit card number to the merchant.
When shopping online, avoid public unsecured public WiFi, like at a cafe or kiosk, which can infiltrated by hackers and leave you exposed to a man in the middle scam.
Make sure your mobile device is secured with the most up to date anti-virus software and that you are using a PIN to lock your phone.  Use long and strong passwords that don't repeat across accounts and never save your user id and password.  Use two factor authentication and biometrics where available for an extra layer of security.

If you do become a victim of identity theft, manage the damage.  Contact your insurance agent, financial institution or the HR department at your job to see if they offer cyber liability or an identity theft damage control program. You may be surprised to learn it's a perk of your relationship with the company and you are already protected, or it may be free to enroll or you can enroll at a minimal cost.

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