It wasn’t all that many years ago that we could count on the last trick-or-treater having rounded the corner of the block heading home before we were inundated with holiday advertising. This year, it seems like the holiday season has been in full swing since soon after Labor Day. And with it, the endless web postings, reports and warnings about any number of holiday-related scams; some that are tried-and-true, and others that are new this year. While the tendency may be to ignore most of these, the digital world in which we get our information, live, and shop has become so technologically advanced that we do so at our peril. Having weeded through the abundance of information that is out there in order to find reliable resources, here are some of the things we found that you might want to check out and keep in mind this holiday season.
McAfee has some excellent pointers on how to avoid “unwrapping online threats.” They’ve titled it, The 12 Scams of the Holidays, and the threats, and tips for avoidance, are applicable to individuals and businesses alike. They include such things as how to avoid phishing scams involving fake shipping notifications, deceptive online advertising, bogus charities, malware installed on point-of-sale devices, malicious apps that allow access to personal information via smart phones and devices, e-card scams and ATM skimming. They also caution about the “Year in Review Trap” which involves clicking on an innocent enough looking news article that is really a means to infect personal and business computers with malware. Also, that branded USB device you received in a gift basket or mass mailing could end up downloading malware onto your system (the advice: stick with devices you purchased yourself or know where they came from). The piece is informative, and a quick and easy read. (Note that by providing this link we are not necessarily endorsing McAfee, their products or services.)
The Michigan Attorney General’s office has a bevy of information dealing with online shopping and being in the know when it comes to merchant return policies, as well as tips for wise charitable giving. And, these resources contain additional links and information for reporting abuses and complaints to the Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General’s office.
Lastly, a wealth of reliable information can be found on websites maintained by a variety of state and local Better Business Bureaus, using some basic keyword searches.
And let us here at Wright Beamer be among the first (but certainly not the last) to wish you a joyous, digitally safe and secure, holiday season!