Online safety tips to avoid scams in the wake of COVID-19 | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

As we move towards a post-pandemic world, it’s safe to say that online shopping is here to stay. Even as states reopen, their economies and shoppers slowly return to brick-and-mortar businesses, digital-first seems to be the new mantra, with convenience and physical safety prioritized over in-person experiences.

When safer-at-home restrictions went into place, online shopping became a necessity. And while many of us learned a greater appreciation for online shopping, we must learn, as well, to recognize and mitigate the risks and threats that come with spending money online.

Today, online security is as big a concern as ever. There will never be a lack of those who seek to prey on others, and the pandemic offers new opportunities for scammers.

Reports of medical-related fraud are on the rise with thieves peddling coronavirus cures, at-home tests, vaccines and shady wellness advice, all meant to steal personal information.

Phishing attempts, which are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity, are a popular tactic used by fraudsters. Price gouging, text message fraud, and robocalls are also increasing with scammers offering fake advice and deals on stimulus payments, banking services, elder care and government services. Consider how the FBI says that between January and May, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received about 320,000 complaints – nearly as much as the 400,000 recorded for all of 2019.

What can you do to keep your online information safe?

Here are some tips:

1.  Always be careful when logging into bank and financial accounts. Use complex, unique passwords. Don’t allow your browser to save your login information on any computer, even your own. Make sure to log-out after each session, and always enter the website address manually – links provided through email, ads and other sites could be phishing attempts.

2.  Verify third-party sites. Be absolutely sure they’re legitimate before giving your personal information. If you have any doubts, contact your financial institution directly.

3.  Do regular check-ins. You should be regularly checking on your accounts for signs of fraud. Many financial institutions, including Origin Bank, offer services like debit alerts and card controls that enable customers to turn their debit cards on or off from their mobile devices in real time.

4.  Keep anti-virus software updated. Use a product that prevents, detects and removes malicious programs. Firewall software also guards against unauthorized access.

5.  Lock devices and check your settings. Electronic devices are often shared, and they can carry sensitive account information like passwords and credit card numbers. Take the time to keep them secure and locked when someone else uses them. Go through the settings menus on each device and individual apps to check parental controls and privacy settings.

6.  Look for other resources. Many are available directly from your financial institution. The FDIC published a special edition of its consumer newsletter, “A Bank Customer’s Guide to Cybersecurity.” It offers tips for preventing online fraud and theft. Get the free guide at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin16.

Origin Bank also offers a number of digital tools and services to offer security and help with staying on top of finances. They’re user-friendly, offering information and tips on keeping e-commerce safe. To learn more, visit our website at www.Origin.bank to learn more.

This content was provided by Origin Bank, Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.originbank.com.


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