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Don't Let the Grinch Steal Your Christmas

by Norton-Team

The festive season is a time of merriment for one and all. That includes scammers, fraudsters, and thieves too who use this time of the year to do their worst.

More of us will be shopping, partying, traveling, and generally letting our guard down as we enjoy good times with family and friends. This gives these criminals an avenue to unleash the Grinch in them.

As the years roll by, holiday-related crimes have evolved. Petty thieves who were once satisfied with pickpocketing or stealing a carelessly placed shopping bag have grown into more complex identity thieves. The spare change in your wallet has little or no value to these criminals. However, your driver’s license, debit cards, and credit cards have far more value than you can imagine. The underground economy is a thriving playground for thieves.

Even the most careful among us can have our property stolen and in the digital world it’s no different. We live in a data-driven world and all daily activities--like the websites we visit, our social media engagement, and shopping trends--are closely monitored. It’s very hard to get off the grid. Plus, with data breaches at major companies happening more frequently, controlling our own data isn’t always possible.

Here are a few ways these new-age Grinches can get between you and the most wonderful time of the year.

  • Stealing wallets
    A stolen wallet is a goldmine for identity thieves. Your driver’s license, credit cards, debit cards, and health insurance cards can be worth a weighty price in criminal circles.

  • Opening your post box
    Keep your post box locked. Thieves go look for bank correspondence or health insurance details that arrive in the post at this time of the year. Your private post with correspondence and forms detailing personal information is very valuable to them so always be mindful of who could access your letterbox and whether it is secure.

  • Your garbage is a goldmine
    As you clean the clutter to tidy up your place for holiday guests, remember to shred all sensitive documents. Thieves can piece together your information and create fake identities to access your existing bank account or create a new one. It doesn’t just happen in the movies you know!

  • Creating phone scams
    Phone scams are a constantly changing area of crime. Criminals use creative new ways to get your personal information. Don’t ever disclose any information if the call is initiated by them. Never call the number they provide. Make sure you look up the correct phone number before you contact a bank or credit card company.
  • Phishing
    Do not fall victim to clicking on links in emails claiming to be from shopping sites, financial institutions, friends, or seemingly trustworthy organizations. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt go straight to the website or call the organization.

  • Keystroke logging
    Criminals can install devices at ATMs that record your card number and the PIN associated with it. More people fall victim to this crime during the holidays because they are traveling and using ATMs at unfamiliar locations.
  • Hacking public Wi-Fi
    With more people spending time away from their homes during the holidays, they might be tempted to use free Wi-Fi provided by shopping centers, coffee shops, and restaurants. Avoid unencrypted public Wi-Fi at all costs. Criminals access these unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots to break into your mobile device and steal your personal information. Consider using a VPN to protect your private information on public Wi-Fi, like the Norton Secure VPN app.
  • Taking advantage of out-of-date operating systems
    Software updates and patches keep devices safe from new and emerging threats. Criminals waste no time in exploiting vulnerabilities once they find out about it. Always install patches and updates as soon as possible. Most are released to protect against newly discovered vulnerabilities.

For all your digital security needs Norton Security has you covered. When it comes to protecting your identity and devices this festive season stay safe, protected and don’t let the Grinch steal your identity.

This entry was posted on Mon Dec 05, 2016 filed under online safety , online security and online threats

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