Thankfully, we made it through the heart of hurricane season unscathed. Although we had a close call with Hurricane Dorian, we remained safe. It now is time to turn our attention to our physical, identity, and financial safety during the holidays. During the holiday season, busy people can become careless and susceptible to theft and other crimes. Remember to keep your wits about you and utilize common security practices such as the following:
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry while shopping.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and be sure to keep cash in your front pocket.
- Remember that talking on your cell phone or listening to earbuds in public makes you an easy target.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.
- If you must shop at night, park in a well-lit area.
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
- Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows, and be aware of your surroundings when approaching or leaving your vehicle.
- Keep your travel plans off your social media networks.
- Use websites you trust for shopping and avoid public Wi-Fi.
- Get packages shipped to your workplace or consider renting out a package locker if you are expecting many deliveries.
- Be aware of what you are throwing away.
- Get references for any service professionals.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the most common categories for fraud complaints in 2018 were imposter scams, debt collection, and identity theft. Cybercriminals are becoming craftier with their techniques to commit identity theft and fraud. The increase in “fake” websites offering discounts, limited specials, and special shipping offers is alarming. Be cautious of third-party websites, and never enter credit card or personal information on these sites. Hover over links without clicking to see where they reroute, or type the website address yourself and double-check it to ensure it is the company’s legitimate site. Simple changes to the address might be hard to detect, such as “.org” instead of “.com”. You previously could count on a website being safe if a secure padlock was present in the address bar; however, in 2018, PhishLabs reported almost half of all fraudulent pages to have a padlock.
’Tis the season for holiday shopping, giving, and unfortunately, scamming. Charitable contributions increase this time of year. Be wary of appeals for needy children, animal shelters, or natural disaster relief efforts. You can verify that the organization is legitimate by using a website such as www.give.org or www.charitynavigator.org. We already have received several reports of “grandparent scams” this year, where scammers posing as a family member or friend claim to have been in an accident or arrested and need money immediately to resolve the matter. We even had reports that The Landings Association’s and The Landings Club’s telephone numbers were spoofed, so the call appeared to originate from a trusted source.
Let us all exercise proactive security measures and increase our overall awareness of our surroundings. We hope you enjoy your friends and family during the holidays and create many joyful memories.
This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website. Visit landings.org to read the original article. https://landings.org/news/2019/10/16/security-update