Stay Safe During Christmas

In this article, Timeless IMS want to point out a few things to keep you and your family safe this Christmas!

The Christmas spirit is upon us, and the excitement is growing. The shopping is done, the party season has started, and we are all excited leading up to the big day. While frantically making plans and buying presents for the ones we love, it becomes easy to fall victim to cybercrime that dampen our festivities. Afterall, this time of the year is a prime time for criminals to try and steal your personal and financial information.

Social Media

Social media plays a huge role in staying connected with friends and family, especially more so during the pandemic, and it has become more important than ever to stay connected with those that we love. While sharing our day-to-day experiences has become the norm, we’re inviting prying eyes into our homes. Harmless pictures of your new Christmas Tree can help thieves identify how many presents you have hiding in your home and can potentially make you a target for household theft. The more we post inside our homes, the better the blueprint we are building for possible burglaries.

When visiting relatives throughout the Christmas season, it is recommended to post pictures after you are back home. Creating live updates and posting photos of your whereabouts can cause greater security issues. After all, everyone knows that you’re not home and have left behind a vulnerable house full of valuables. A major target for criminals.

Scam Emails

While Christmas shopping is well underway with the approach of events such as Black Friday, allow phishing emails and scam text messages, which are a popular method from fraudsters to steal your money, to become more prevalent. Whether it be a ‘postage fee’ from “Royal mail” or “Amazon”, these messages provide links to fake websites over fees that do not exist. To help protect yourself from these scam messages: keep track of what you’re ordering, when it should arrive and delete any messages you suspect to be fraudulent.

Scams and Dodgy Websites

Online shopping plays a huge role in preparing for Christmas day and therefore it is vital to know how to stay safe online when ordering and buying gifts. Being able to recognise scam websites and links will help protect your wallets from fraudsters. While cybercriminals have a large array of methods to impose fraudulent transactions, we can protect ourselves by watching out and identifying for these signs:

Do the deals seem too good to be true?

A recent victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains how they were caught out: “I was shopping online and found some good deals on a site I found on social media. I spent £179, but my items didn’t turn up. I contacted the customer care number and they advised me that the order had failed to go through even though the money had been deducted from my account. They sent me an email with a form to fill in to help them process my order.
“The form asked for the card details I had used for my order and without thinking I also shared my PIN. Over the next few days over £200 has been taken from my bank account.”

Does the website have an odd web-address?

Having complicated or mis-spelt web addresses can be a sign of a fake website. Changes that are so slight, it can be difficult to notice. E.g:

Does the page have any contact details or a customer service desk?

A lack of contact details or customer service board can be a sign of a fraudulent website.

What do the reviews say?

If the reviews are irrelevant to the product that you’re buying, it is likely that the reviews are fake. A mass of 5 star reviews without relevant information can also be a sign of a scam website

Has personal information been requested?

Requests for strange and irrelevant personal information (e.g. site asks for your mother’s maiden name or the name of your primary school) can be a sign of a fraudulent website, such data can be used and sold on the dark web in attempts to access your financial accounts.

Our Advice

Never pay by bank transfer for an online purchase.

Alarm bells should ring if you are asked to pay for something via a Bank transfer online. You will lose any protection credit cards or other reputable payment methods give you. 

If a link comes via text, chat, email etc.

Take the time to browse the website. Take a couple of minutes to double-check the site pages and links to make sure it is not a sham website. 

Time to Checkout

If the site is somewhat sophisticated and doesn’t take payments via wire transfers or cash apps, (which is a big no-no anyway!). Ensure there is a small padlock in the web address bar when inputting your card details. This means that the site is secure. If there is no padlock,  do not input your payment details.

Our Clients Are In Safe Hands

“Support when and where you need it”

Timeless IMS provide a proactive, managed IT Support line to our tech:friends.

We offer this service as a Single Device package, a Duo (two devices), Family (up to 5 devices) and HomeWorker (for sole traders and micro businesses).

More information about tech:friend can be found here 

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