Avoid the Holiday Hoaxes

Online Shopping – Secure or Not Secure?

It’s commonly believed that a website is safe if it has a green lock icon in the address bar of the browser. Not only is this false, but now half of all phishing scams are hosted on websites whose Internet address is marked by the green lock and begin with HTTPS, according to an article on Krebs on Security. Phishing is a fraudulent online attempt to steal personal information.

A green lock indicates that your information is being encrypted, but that doesn’t mean the site is trustworthy. Before shopping or purchasing online, look for any signs that the site might be fraudulent, such as misspelled words or outdated graphics, and only shop from businesses you’re familiar with to help reduce the likelihood of your information falling into the wrong hands.

Secret Sisters – Naughty or Nice?

Undoubtedly, every year during the holiday season a viral gift exchange known as “Secret Sister” has a social media rebirth. This gift exchange not only exposes your personal information, but it often leaves participants without anything to show for it.

The big hook? For only $10, participants are told they could receive up to 36 gifts. The rules sound simple enough. A list of six names along with personal contact information is passed around. Participants are supposed to send a gift to the person at the top of the list, move the second name on the list to the top spot, and then the participant adds his or her own name to the new #2 spot on the list. The last step is simply to forward the list on to six more people. A type of pyramid scheme, this holiday gift exchange is worse than a lump of coal in your stocking. Passing around this list exposes everyone’s personal contact information all over social media and the web – possibly to strangers all around the world. In addition to the likelihood of having personal data land in the hands of a grinchy criminal, pyramid schemes are illegal and participants could be charged under a variety of federal and state laws. To add insult to injury, gifts usually never arrive!

We hope these few tips help you avoid scams this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Bank of Luxemburg!

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