Holiday 2022 Connections

Cornerstone Group © 2022 STRATEGIES FOR MORE SECURE ONLINE SHOPPING If you’re doing more shopping online these days, you’ll want to make sure your personal and financial information stays secure to avoid becoming the victim of identity theft or other scams. Remember to take these precautions: • Only do business with reputable vendors. That means sticking to sites you’ve heard of or have a high percentage of positive reviews. • Make sure your information is encrypted. You can tell the site uses encryption if its URL includes “https” instead of “http.” • Use company apps. Even better than secure websites are apps, which many retailers now provide. • Don’t shop when using public Wi-Fi. Don’t conduct any financial transactions unless you’re on a secure connection (such as your network at home). • Use a credit card. Though debit cards are handy, they don’t provide the same kind of protection that credit cards offer (such as getting money back for illegitimate purchases). • Check your credit card statements. If you see any charges you don’t recognize, contact your credit card company immediately. Be sure to follow Colo Telephone and CIB on Facebook. We regularly post warnings about scams being reported in the community. Has Amazon contacted you to confirm a recent purchase you didn’t make or to tell you that your account has been hacked? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about one in three people who have reported a business impersonator scam say the scammer pretended to be Amazon. The median loss for victims of this scam is around $1,000. These scams take different forms. In one version, scammers offer to “refund” you for an unauthorized purchase but “accidentally transfer” more than promised. They then ask you to send back the difference. What really happens? The scammer moves money from one of your bank accounts to the other (like savings to checking, or vice versa) to make it look like you were refunded. Any money you send back to “Amazon” is your money, not an overpayment, and as soon as you send it out of your account, it becomes theirs. In another version of the scam, you’re told that hackers have accessed your account —and the only way to supposedly protect it is to buy gift cards and share the gift card number and PIN on the back. Once that information is theirs, the money is, too. Here’s how to avoid being taken by an Amazon impersonator scam: • Never call back an unknown number. Use the information on Amazon’s website and not a number listed in an unexpected email or text. • Don’t pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card, or buy gift cards for anything other than a gift, it’s a scam. • Don’t give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information such as your bank accounts. Have you spotted this scam? Report it at If you think someone has achieved access to your accounts or personal information, visit There, you’ll find steps to take to see if your identity has been misused, and how to report and recover from identity theft. AMAZON IMPERSONATORS SCAM MONEY FROM VICTIMS