Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are three of the busiest days of the year for shopping and donating. These days create the perfect opportunity for hackers and scammers to take advantage of the unwary. Thankfully, according to NBC there are measures you can take to avoid false advertisements, untrustworthy sellers, phishing attempts and more.
If a company is selling the hottest item of the season at a price that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Check prices across a few retailers to ensure the best deal is also a realistic one. Be aware of fake email offers and web addresses. Scammers will often attempt to craft sites and messages that look just like your favorite retailers. If shopping from a business for the first time, make sure to look over their reviews before entering your credit card information.
Make sure your antivirus software is fully up to date. Updated antivirus should help block pop-ups and spam, as well as warn you of potential threats. Use your credit card as opposed to a debit card. If any unwarranted charges show up, you’ll be able to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards unfortunately don’t offer the same protection. Lastly, be on the lookout for phishing tactics. Emails, calls, and texts mentioning incredible deals, free gifts, and delivery problems should all arouse suspicion.
Responsible charities will list their mission, programs, goals, and achievements on their website. Their financial information should also be readily available. You can check if organizations are tax exempt using the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool.
Additionally, be wary of on-the-spot donations and the use of emotional appeals. Do some research before making your donation decisions to ensure your selected charity operates ethically. Lastly, it never hurts to check with state charity officials if you haven’t heard of a charity before. Charities often are required to register with the office of the attorney general before soliciting.
This giving time of year is wonderful, and it’s great to give thoughtful gifts to loved ones and charities. However, it’s wise to be cautious and ensure your money and personal information are safe. If you have any questions about Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, or general internet safety practices, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.