Decatur Police: There’s nothing festive about fraud
Sgt. Jennifer Ross has delivered the latest in her weekly installments of holiday safety tips. The topic this week? Fraud and how you can avoid becoming a victim of it.
It’s a topic Ross knows far too much about. She said she shops online when she’s looking for a specific item she can’t find anywhere else. That’s led to some trouble, she said.
“I have been the victim of identity fraud twice in six years but the convenience of online shopping outweighs any paranoia I may have,” Ross said.
Ross said she’s learned from her experiences and she’s passing the savings (from fraud, that is) on to you.
She highly recommends:
– Update your security software before surfing the internet to shop online. If you don’t have a good firewall as well as anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, you might as well put a sign on your head that says, “Please ruin my credit.”
– Make your purchases on a secure website. “Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or ‘https’ in the URL address,” Ross said.
– Buy from companies that you know and trust. If you aren’t familiar with a company, do a little research on it before giving that company your credit card information to make a purchase.
– Ross said, and I agree, for the love of all that is holy DO NOT CLICK THESE THINGS: pop-up ads for surveys, prize offers or anti-virus alerts. “This is a common way for your personal information to be grabbed or your computer to be infected,” Ross said. It’s also the bane of IT people everywhere.
– After you buy something online, be sure to follow up. Take a look at your billing and bank statements to make sure there aren’t any fishy purchases. (Many banks these days will send you an alert if they think someone has stolen your credit card. But don’t depend on that to save you. Be proactive.) “Immediately report any discrepancy to your bank,” Ross said.
Another great helping of holiday advice from Sgt. Ross.
And that’s how the Decatur Police defeated all fraud and saved Christmas. The End.