The holidays open the door to all types of scams, and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office Monday warned residents to be particularly careful when making purchases via the internet, because cyber criminals are always looking for ways to exploit shoppers who aren't keeping a close eye on their transactions.
The District Attorney's Office anti-fraud unit urged residents who are making an online payment to consistently confirm that the website address they're using is secure, which will be indicated by a padlock symbol in the URL, or showing "https" at the beginning of the website address, instead of the typical "http."
"Shop directly on business websites, not through links for specific 'deals'" according to an agency statement.
Scam artists are also lurking on social media, setting up fake accounts in the hopes of luring unsuspecting users in to click on links and attachments that could invite trouble, including malware and computer viruses, officials said.
"Don't use your debit card to make purchases; use a credit card -- preferably one that has fraud protection," the District Attorney's Office stated. "Using your debit card could give cyber crooks access to your entire bank account."
Officials also recommended regularly changing passwords -- and not using the same one to access sensitive portals, including financial accounts and other sites where personal information is stored and shared.
"Also, if asked, don't provide any extra security information on websites, or via email, such as your Social Security number, passwords or password security questions," the District Attorney's Office said.
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More information is available at http://rivcoda.org/opencms/resources/scams.html.