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Avoiding Holiday Cyberscams

Avoiding Holiday Cyber Scams


Lance Larson, Ph.D., asst. director of Graduate Program in Homeland Security and lecturer at San Diego State University


Last year's Target credit card breach and the recent Home Depot security breach revealed just how vulnerable our private information can be in a digital world.

The cybersecurity breaches have affected tens of millions of customers.

With the holiday season getting underway many are planning their gift giving, much of it online. But are you protecting yourself from cybercriminals?

Lance Larson, assistant director of the Homeland Security graduate program at San Diego State, told KPBS Midday Edition that consumers who have had their credit card numbers stolen should investigate on their own.

"Think about where you've used that credit card so that you can maybe pin down what merchant might have lost your information," Larson said.

Emails requesting personal information, deceptive advertising and fake charities are among the most common holiday scams.

Top 5 Holiday Scams

  1. Email notifications and phishing scams are on the increase.
  2. Deceptive advertising - everyone is looking for a deal but watch out for phony contests on social media, bogus gift cards and dangerous links.
  3. Charity giving - make sure you are giving to an established charity.
  4. Point of sale malware - you may not know if your retailer is targeted but check your bank statement for any unauthorized purchases - no matter how small!
  5. iScams - make sure the app you download is from a reliable retailer.

Source: McAfee software company

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