MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - With Cyber Monday happening online, including intriguing holiday shopping deals, it can be easy to get carried away. During the holidays, fraud occurs at a greater rate and it is important to protect yourself and your online accounts.
Greg Harris, Fraud Investigator for the Meridian Township Police Department noted that it is always important to protect yourself from fraud, but on Cyber Monday the main risk is credit card fraud and identity theft. To be safe when ordering products online he noted to, “shop online with well established retailers that are trusted or with retails you have a safe shopping history with.” Greg advised to be aware of “flash emails” or those emails that seem to be offering a deal that is too good to be true. Instead of clicking on the link directly in the email, he advised to go to the company website and search for the same deal there to make sure it is legitimate. It is also crucial to make sure the email a company lists in the email you received matches the one on their website. Scams usually have a very similar email but not identical.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides many tips to protect yourself and your family from different forms of Internet fraud:
-Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is a secure and reputable. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but provides some assurance.
-Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure. Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses.
-Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working.
-Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
-Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
-Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area or check out other websites regarding this person/company.
-Don’t judge a person or company by their website. Flashy websites can be set up quickly.
-Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail.
-Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
-If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
-Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card number.
-Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately.