With more and more Hoosiers shopping online this holiday season, it is important to be aware and on the lookout for scams and cybercriminals. Unsecure websites, emails, links and attachments riddled with malware provide avenues for criminals to steal sensitive personal and financial information. We all need to be aware and on the lookout for scams and take precautions to protect our personal information during the holidays and beyond.
Hoosiers making purchases online either through a computer, tablet or mobile device should avoid doing so on public Wi-Fi, where criminals can potentially view transactions. You should also shop with reputable and known retailers. The Federal Trade Commission recommends researching and checking companies' online reviews before making any purchases.
Many companies use emails to inform customers about deals and sales. However, criminals can often use messages known as phishing emails to deceive users in order to gather their personal information. These emails often look legitimate, but can contain errors, typos and offers that seem too good to be true. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links and look through them carefully to see if it did come from a reputable source. You can always visit the business' website directly instead of clicking links in the email.
Updating your devices to ensure they have the latest security features and defenses is encouraged, and they can be set up to allow for automatic updates, which helps make them more secure. It is also smart to use strong passwords that are difficult to guess and use different passwords for each account. It is recommended that passwords have a minimum of 10 characters and use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
During the busy holiday season, it is easy to overlook the importance of protecting sensitive information, and it is critical for Hoosiers to make sure they are doing everything to protect their information and hard-earned dollars. Report potential scams to the Indiana Attorney General’s office by visiting indianaconsumer.com and the FTC by visiting ftc.gov/complaint.
State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) represents House District 73, which includes
Washington County, and portions of Jackson, Lawrence, Orange, Clark and Harrison counties.
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