online shopping on cyber mondayCyber Monday is just around the corner! This year, like many other shoppers, you may decide to forgo the Black Friday crowds in exchange for a comfortable seat at your computer desk. The lure of being able to shop from your laptop or mobile phone is quite enticing for shoppers of all ages. However, throwing caution to the wind as you shop on Cyber Monday can come with a hefty price tag.

According to the 2016 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin, in 2015, over 13 million consumers became victims of cyber theft. If you choose to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals, at The Overlook, we want you to be cautious.

Here are a few things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft fraud this Cyber Monday:

Don’t fall for phishing scams
During the holidays, many cyber attacks occur through fake emails. These fake emails are used in phishing scams — and this phishing has nothing to do with the relaxing pastime of an angler.

Phishing emails usually include deals that seemed impossibly good. They may offer you great products at unbelievably low prices or notify you that you have won a huge sum of money. There’s just one catch: you have to click a link in the email to take advantage of the offer. Once you click, cyber criminals use the links to access the information in your computer.

If you are concerned about the validity of an email that appears to be from a reputable company, contact the company directly. A customer service representative should be able to confirm whether or not the email actually came from the company displayed.

Also, be sure to look for spelling and grammar errors within the email content. These types of errors are usually key indicators that an email was not sent from a reputable organization at all. In some instances, the emails are even sent from thieves overseas, so the issues with grammar may be due to problems with translations.

Use passwords that no one else could easily guess
When it comes to passwords, even though it may be tempting to use your middle name or your spouse’s name followed by a few numbers, these types of passwords may be too easy to guess. Once a thief has your password, he or she can see the personal account information that your password should be protecting. This means that your credit card and banking information could be stolen and used for purchases that you have not approved. This become an even bigger problem if you used the same passwords for more than one account.

Don’t save your passwords on your computer or cell phone
When you enter a password online to access one of your accounts, a window may appear asking if you would like to save the password in your system for future use. This allows your computer or mobile device to pre-fill your password and username when you visit your account’s login page. As convenient as this option is, it is also dangerous. If someone steals your cell phone or gains access to your computer, they may also have access to all of the passwords that you have saved.

As you shop this Cyber Monday, be sure to use proper precautions. We want your personal and bank account information to stay safe and secure.

The Overlook is a destination retirement community in Charlton, MA. For information about our independent living, assisted living or memory care programs, please contact us.

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