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MERIT Solutions has been serving the Chesapeake area since 1982, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: 5 Ways Thieves are Looking to Scam Shoppers

Tip of the Week: 5 Ways Thieves are Looking to Scam Shoppers

It’s seems unbelievable just how much thought and effort hackers can put into their attacks. Scammers are all over the place, and you can never truly be safe. Here are five scams that you should always be on the lookout for.

1. Be Careful Where You Donate
Donations are great ways to show your support for certain causes, and they’re also tax-deductible. However, hackers have been known to take advantage of the people’s generosity. Many will set up fake charity websites that will scam people with good intentions. This money, which was meant to be used to help others, is now funding a hacker’s agenda.

To guarantee that you’re donating to a reputable charity, AARP recommends the following: “Before donating to a charity, make sure it is registered with the Secretary of State and ask how much of the money goes to the charitable fundraiser and how much goes to the charitable purpose.”

2. Look Out for Fake Gift Cards
Gift cards are often purchased as last-ditch present ideas for birthdays or holidays, but they are also one of the primary ways that scammers will use to make a quick buck off of unwary people. If you see deals on online auction sites for discounted gift cards, you should stay away from them, as they could easily be stolen, making them worthless. Make sure that you only purchase gift cards from trusted, licensed vendors. Plus, you want to make sure that the cashier can check the balance of the card before purchase, so that any cards placed on the shelves by a thief don’t play you for a fool.

3. Track Your Packages
If you’ve ever ordered something online, you’ll know that it can be tricky to arrange for packages to be delivered to your residence while you’re home. After all, what’s stopping a thief from walking to your front porch, picking up your package, and taking off down the road? It’s unlikely that the thief would know what’s in the box, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and perhaps all they want is a way to make a quick buck. To keep this from becoming a problem, ask that your package require a signature upon delivery, or have it shipped to your work address, just in case nobody is home.

4. Watch for Credit Card Skimmers
Some thieves will use credit card skimming devices to steal your data from ATMs or point-of-sale terminals. This means that you should probably be shopping with a credit card over a debit card, but more than anything else, cash trumps this card skimming tactic. It’s also helpful to take note of the device that you’re using to pay with a card to ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with.

5. Don’t Fall for Bogus Deals
Here’s one last tip that might be one of the most basic: an offer that’s too good to be true is probably just that. A purchase that seems like the deal of a lifetime might be nothing but a scammer who wants to make off with your goods or your cash. Remember that if there’s so much as a hint of skepticism concerning your purchase, you should approach the situation with a hefty dose of skepticism.

Stay Safe Online
The Internet is full of threats, so the best way to stay safe is to follow this brief list of security best practices:

  • Before submitting any sensitive information, look for the padlock icon in the address bar, along with HTTPS at the beginning of the URL.
  • Only shop on websites that have a good reputation.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping online.
  • Avoid using your debit card online. Instead, use credit cards and gift cards.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited emails in your inbox, especially when it comes to fake invoices and bogus shipping orders.

Does your business have concerns about shopping online’ or protecting its digital assets? MERIT Solutions can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.

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