<![CDATA[Happy Cyber Monday! In today's day and age, it seems like everything can be done online. From buying those new shoes to visiting your teledoc to even signing for a home (Hello RON)! So as you take to the web today, we are here to remind you to be careful. It’s no secret; in our industry, WTF happens. And by WTF, we mean Wire Transfer Fraud. So we take cybersecurity very seriously. While you may not be sending your life savings to your favorite online retailer today, it is still essential to be aware of fraudsters. Black Friday brought in over $7.2 billion for retailers, and these fraudsters are looking for a piece of that this CyberMonday. Our Cyber Monday Safety Tips:
- Never share your information: Tom Arnold, the co-founder of Payment Software Company – a security consultancy firm, says the most significant thing to never do is “loan your payment card or online shopping account number to anyone,” not even family. As more people gain access to your information, it gets more and more likely that the information will be abused.
- Opt for your credit card – not your debit card: The next thing Tom suggests is using your credit card rather than a debit card when shopping online. Should your information get in the wrong hands, it is much easier to dispute activity on a credit card. He explains, “It is easier to dispute since revolving credit is used to underwrite a transaction, whereas your own bank account backs a debit card.”
- Stick to well known and reputable stores: Tom Arnold suggests sticking to websites you know and trust. “If something seems strange like a popup error warning, don’t enter your payment data. Go somewhere else instead.” Some other signs of a fraudulent site include; offers that seem too good to be true offers that involve an intermediary or websites that request to download software or applications to enjoy savings.
- Beware of emails: Dave Baggett, a co-founder and CEO of anti-phishing start-up Inky, shares that “email is the number-one way cybercrime of all forms happens. If a bad guy can get you to click on a link in an email, he can do all manner of bad things to your online life.” In our industry and retail, emails are a particularly common way for fraudsters to gain access to your information. Watch out for a phishing email. This is an email that will copy data from another source, making it look like a legitimate email, but then they include a link to a false portal asking for your info. Baggett suggests going directly to the retailer’s website by typing in its name in your browser if a deal catches your eye! (Just how we recommend calling your escrow officer at a known number if an email seems suspicious)!
- Avoid popups and ads: Viruses and malware can also follow you around the internet in the form of popups and advertisements. Don’t click on these ads; they can send you to sites that ask for your information or infect your device. If the deal is legitimate, it will be on a company website, not in a popup.
- Watch out for e-skimmers: Card Skimming usually happens at an ATM or Gas station, but cybercriminals can now do it online by installing malicious code on a website to gather your card data when you checkout. To protect yourself from this, you can pay with a third party site like PayPal, Venmo, or Amazon. This way, the store never receives your credit card number.
- Monitor your accounts: Throughout the holiday season, keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts. Most banks will offer text notifications. Any purchases that seem questionable, or not made by you, report immediately and request a new card. It is also important to monitor your annual credit report for any new accounts or inquiries that you did not make.