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Avoid becoming a victim in Cyberspace this holiday season

Avoid becoming a victim in Cyberspace this holiday season

Monday, December 11, 2017

Below are six tips to help you avoid becoming a victim in Cyberspace this holiday season for both home and at work.

Think twice before clicking on email attachments or website links:  Cyber-criminals take advantage of the holiday shopping season by using “order confirmation” and “shipping notification” emails to install malicious software on a victim’s computer. If you haven’t purchased anything online recently, don’t open or click on emails of this nature.

Be suspicious of phone calls claiming your computer needs attention: Robocall Scams are the latest in offline fraud attempts. If you receive a phone call claiming that your computer is infected with a virus, this is more than likely a criminal hoping you will provide personal information and/or remote access to your computer.

Don’t provide personal information in exchange for a “Great Deal”:  If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. These phony “deals” usually require you to provide personal information to obtain a promotional code/coupon thus allowing the criminal to steal your identity.

Avoid being fooled by an outrageous headline in e-mail , websites or social media: Click-baiting is when a publisher posts links with shocking headlines encouraging people to click to learn more. These eye-catching links shared on social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) may look entertaining to read; however, the website may contain malicious code.

Purchase gift cards wisely: Fraudsters have a variety of tricks for reselling stolen gift cards or selling cards that they’re intending to use once they’re funded. Help stay safe by purchasing gift cards directly from the retailer (e.g., buy a Starbucks gift card directly from Starbucks) and watch for signs of tampering such as the PIN already being scratched off the back. Avoid auctions that offer gift cards.

Use Social Media carefully: Tickets to theater, concerts, and sporting events are always popular gifts during the holidays. If you purchase or receive tickets as a gift, do not post pictures of the tickets to social media sites. Protect the barcodes on tickets as you would your credit card number. Fraudsters will create a ticket using the barcode obtained from searching around social media sites and resell the ticket. You should never allow the barcode to be seen on social media. Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, especially sites offering deals too good to be true, such as a free $500 gift card. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests. It may even appear one of your friends shared the link with you. If so, it is likely your friend was duped by the scam after it was sent to them by one of their friends. Oftentimes, these scams lead to online surveys designed to steal personal information.

Rest Assured: At First Merchants, we continually work to provide an environment in which your account information stays secure and personal to you. Some of the steps we take for protection are:

  • Maintain high security standards on our systems
  • Continuously monitor our security protocols to keep your money and information safe
  • Apply a layered approach to security which helps defeat attempts to compromise our systems
  • Work closely with law enforcement and regulatory agencies to stay current with industry standards for fraud prevention

First Merchants or any of its divisions, Lafayette Bank & Trust and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors will not contact you via email, phone, text message, or other means and request confidential information.

If you have questions regarding transactions on your account or suspicious requests for confidential information, don't hesitate to contact our customer services at 1.800.205.3464; Mon.-Fri. 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Sat. 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.