(KFVS) - County officials say it is important for consumers to stay alert for electronic scams during the holiday season.
The Office of the Chief Information Officer in Union County stated in a news release that tight budgets and financial concerns make people vulnerable to email or "phishing" attacks.
The office recommends the following guidelines to help avoid common electronic scams:
- Don’t click links in email or text messages or open email attachments that claim to be from a financial institution or charity. Instead, log in directly to their official websites to access information or make payments.
- Phishing attempts can be very convincing. Don’t be fooled by official sounding subject lines such as “Late Payment,” “Account Over Limit” or “IRS Audit.”
- If you aren’t sure about a particular charity, consult the FTC Charity Checklist.
- Review online or paper statements from banks and credit cards carefully after making online purchases.
- Never download anything you didn’t go looking for on your own. A lot of malware masquerades as updates to software that turn out to be bogus.
- Be careful when downloading free games, screensavers or other software. Even if they are legitimate, they often include adware or other scams.
- There are a lot of good, free antivirus programs for home use but do some research or talk to a professional before installing anything claiming to be “security” software.
- Avoid sending or opening electronic greetings cards as you may unwittingly be downloading malicious software and spreading it to friends and family.
- Be cautious of where you do your online shopping. Public computers or computers belonging to others could be compromised without your knowledge.
- There are certain risks inherent to using wireless networks in public places, motels, etc. Be cautious when using such networks to do anything that involves your private and/or personal information while traveling during the holidays.