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McQuiston: Don’t Let Grinches Steal Your Christmas

on December 21, 2017 - 5:32am
The Jemez Agency
By the time you read this column, you may be done with your Christmas shopping, but the message can be used all year round.
Online shopping makes it easy to find a great selection of gifts and can be a big time-saver. Unfortunately, thieves are waiting to take advantage of you.
Here are some tips to protect yourself while shopping online:
  • Install the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus protection, and firewall security on your computer or phone.
  • Use secure websites and logoff when finished. Look for an “s” in the website URLs. “https://” means the information is encrypted making it more difficult for identity theft to occur.
  • Use one credit card for online purchases and track it often. Don’t wait for the statement to arrive, as it could have weeks of fraudulent activity on it.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi because unsecured hotspots can allow hackers to access sensitive information.
  • Beware of unsolicited (spam) emails. Don’t respond, and don’t click on any links, as scammers can use these to spread computer viruses, etc.
  • After you’ve made an online purchase, it is important to be smart when choosing your delivery option. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Have your package delivered to a local store or the closest pick-up facility. If you can accept personal deliveries at work, consider using this benefit.
  • Sign up for delivery alerts that notify you when the package arrives. Ask a trusted neighbor to take your package inside for you if you are not going to be home.
  • Leave delivery instructions with the shipper such as “signature required” or “keep packages out of sight from the road.”
No matter what precautions you take, there is no foolproof plan to prevent loss from happening. However, the safeguards you implement offer you the best opportunity to avoid the scams and schemes that are used by “Grinches” this time of year.

Have a safe and happy holiday!