- Don't give out personal information. Be suspicious of anyone you don't know who asks for your Social Security number, credit card and bank account details, date of birth, etc.
- Don't be intimidated. Be suspicious of calls or e-mails that want you to provide or verify personal information immediately. Tell them you're not interested and hang up or don't reply to the e-mail.
- Monitor your accounts. Review bank and credit card statements carefully. Report unauthorized transactions to your financial institution immediately.
- Use a shredder. Tear or shred credit offers you receive in the mail, bank statements, insurance forms and other papers with vital information. In addition to these general guidelines there is a really good list and explanation of many fraudulent practices currently in use at USA.gov here. The trend is clear: As more of our devices communicate with each other there will be more fraud, not less. But it is partly because we are not careful enough. If you get an email from Nigeria about an offer too good to refuse, refuse to open it!
This is the time of the year that becomes busy for many people as the holidays approach. Retailers are anxious to move product and manufacturers are going full tilt to supply all of the holiday goodies that we will buy. But, there is another segment of the “business” industry that will be busy; the people who deal in fraud and scams. As retailers begin blitzing the email and internet with deals, you can be sure that there will some enterprising computer thieves who will be trying to attract victims into fraudulent transactions. And, this will be in addition to the ongoing regular scams already well entrenched in our digital world. This year the criminals have another area to use in getting information. The Affordable Care Act has begun signing up individuals and families for insurance. You can guess that there will be bogus sites that will seek only names and personal information. Then, your identify will be at risk. The following general warnings are useful in avoiding risk: