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Shopping Online Safely

Identity Theft News

Shopping Online Safely

The number of online shoppers in the United States is projected to surpass 200 million in 2015. The ease and convenience of shopping from just about anywhere, avoiding crowds and not having to find a place to park are just a few things that make shopping on a retailer’s website an attractive option.

However, with convenience comes caution. Concerns about payment data security and other personal information makes some consumers shy about conducting their shopping via the internet. The following tips, if practiced, can bring about a sense of security while conducting online transactions:

Take steps to shop safely

1. Be Choosy. Don’t click indiscriminately on a link that you find in an unsolicited email or pop-up advertisement. Choose only well-known websites that have an address that starts with “https” when you get to the point of providing your payment information during the purchase process.

2. Be Precise. When navigating to a particular retailer’s website, make sure you have the exact web address. Some thieves have purchased website names that are very similar to a reputable website with the hopes that shoppers will find the fraudulent website instead. Trying to shop on the fraudulent site could lead to theft of personal information or not getting what you think you are purchasing.

3. Be Skeptical. Did you find some fantastic deal that you haven’t seen anywhere else? Beware! Ads for the season’s “hot” item, especially at a ridiculously good price, could actually be a scheme to get you to click on a link or approve a download that brings with it a virus or other trouble.

4. Be Unique. It is dangerous to use the same password for all of your online accounts. Why? If one of the accounts you access online is breached, the unauthorized intruder might acquire your password. They can then try to use the same password on other sites you use which might include other shopping sites or your checking account or credit card accounts. Use different passwords for each of your online accounts.

5. Be Thorough. Keep a record of all your purchases and the websites where each purchase was made. Save receipts, confirmation email messages, etc. Make note of how you paid for each item and then check the account to make sure only the authorized charge went through.

 A service of the Investigators of Kroll These materials are derived from the research and discovery activities of Kroll Fraud Specialists and Licensed Investigators, and have been gathered from personal, historical, and aggregated experience performing specialized restoration services on behalf of Identity Theft victims. While believed to be accurate, these materials do not constitute legal advice, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. No part of this document may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into a language or computer language, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, optical, chemical, manual or otherwise, without the express written consent of Kroll. These materials are provided for informational purposes only. MEM-104-2014-12-04

 

The number of online shoppers in the United States is projected to surpass 200 million in 2015. The ease and convenience of shopping from just about anywhere, avoiding crowds and not having to find a place to park are just a few things that make shopping on a retailer’s website an attractive option.

However, with convenience comes caution. Concerns about payment data security and other personal information makes some consumers shy about conducting their shopping via the internet. The following tips, if practiced, can bring about a sense of security while conducting online transactions:

Take steps to shop safely

1. Be Choosy. Don’t click indiscriminately on a link that you find in an unsolicited email or pop-up advertisement. Choose only well-known websites that have an address that starts with “https” when you get to the point of providing your payment information during the purchase process.

2. Be Precise. When navigating to a particular retailer’s website, make sure you have the exact web address. Some thieves have purchased website names that are very similar to a reputable website with the hopes that shoppers will find the fraudulent website instead. Trying to shop on the fraudulent site could lead to theft of personal information or not getting what you think you are purchasing.

3. Be Skeptical. Did you find some fantastic deal that you haven’t seen anywhere else? Beware! Ads for the season’s “hot” item, especially at a ridiculously good price, could actually be a scheme to get you to click on a link or approve a download that brings with it a virus or other trouble.

4. Be Unique. It is dangerous to use the same password for all of your online accounts. Why? If one of the accounts you access online is breached, the unauthorized intruder might acquire your password. They can then try to use the same password on other sites you use which might include other shopping sites or your checking account or credit card accounts. Use different passwords for each of your online accounts.

5. Be Thorough. Keep a record of all your purchases and the websites where each purchase was made. Save receipts, confirmation email messages, etc. Make note of how you paid for each item and then check the account to make sure only the authorized charge went through.

The Underground Economy and Your Identity

January 18, 2017

The past several years have been a bonanza for the underground economy as it relates to the purchase and sale of stolen private information and, specifically, to the sheer number of individual consumer records impacted. Numerous large merchants, hospital systems, and insurance companies have been hacked, exposing email addresses and passwords, credit card numbers, and personal profiles. These breaches have resulted in a considerable surge in private personal information being made available for sale in the underground economy. Throughout this same timeframe, security companies, researchers, and hackers have commented on the vast amounts of data that have been stolen and are now available for purchase online. Indeed, we have heard all too often from the popular media that billions of personal records have been compromised.

How to Respond to Suspicious IRS-related Communication this Tax Season

January 18, 2017

It’s that time of year once again. The holidays have come and gone and we’re all settling into a new year. With all of our resolutions aside, one thing is still left to do - our taxes. This season is also the time where IRS-related scams are plentiful.  

It’s important to know that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by any type of electronic communication, including email, text messages, and social media channels. Here, we share some IRS direction for handling a suspicious IRS-related communication.

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information:

  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Forward the email as-is, to phishing@irs.gov. After you forward the email, delete the original email message you received.

Note: Please forward the full original email to   phishing@irs.gov. Do not forward scanned images of printed emails as that strips the email of valuable information only available in the electronic copy.

The “Dirty Dozen” of Tax Scams Investigator Insights The “Dirty Dozen” of Tax Scams

January 18, 2017

Accountants and tax return preparers aren’t the only busy ones during tax return filing season. Scammers and abusers of the system are active as well. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) strives to educate taxpayers and combat scammers through various resources, one of which is their annual list of top scams - “The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams.” - shared here.

Phone Scams

Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as scam artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things.

Phishing

Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never send taxpayers an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of strange emails and websites that may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information.

Return Preparer Fraud

Yahoo Announces that 1 Billion Accounts Compromised in Data Breach

As you may have heard, Yahoo just announced that over 1 Billion accounts were hacked in a recent data breach. This information includes account holder names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, dates of birth, telephone numbers and, in some cases, security questions and answers.

Here are a few proactive steps you can take to protect your account:

Protecting your identity during the holiday season

December 7, 2016

Keeping your sensitive information safe

It's once again the time of year when consumers are making plans to visit relatives, host festive get-togethers. and. of course. hit the stores (or computer) for some shopping. Unfortunately,the flurry of activity that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays presents a prime opportunity for a data thief to practice his trade. With that in mind, put the protection of sensitive personal information at the top of your holiday to-do list.

 

Kroll's Investigators offer the following tips that can help consumers keep their sensitive information safe:

 

Tip #1: Practice safe shopping in stores

»  Before you hit the stores. take stock of what you bring along in your purse/wallet. Remove unnecessary key identity components. Make a list of what remains so you'll know what is missing if your purse/wallet is lost or stolen.

Shopping Online Safely

December 6, 2016

The number of online shoppers in the United States is projected to surpass 200 million in 2015. The ease and convenience of shopping from just about anywhere, avoiding crowds and not having to find a place to park are just a few things that make shopping on a retailer’s website an attractive option.

However, with convenience comes caution. Concerns about payment data security and other personal information makes some consumers shy about conducting their shopping via the internet. The following tips, if practiced, can bring about a sense of security while conducting online transactions:

Take steps to shop safely

1. Be Choosy. Don’t click indiscriminately on a link that you find in an unsolicited email or pop-up advertisement. Choose only well-known websites that have an address that starts with “https” when you get to the point of providing your payment information during the purchase process.