Be vigilant against cybercrime during the holidays

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it pays to stay vigilant about consumer fraud, such as cybercrimes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Alabama ranks 8th among states for fraud and identity theft crimes. That translates to $7 million in total fraud losses each year for residents.

Cybercrime often spikes during the holidays when criminals look for even more ways to separate consumers from their money.

The Federal Trade Commission cautions shoppers to watch which sites and links they clink on. Also, beware of phishing and social networking emails that ask you to click on links or call numbers in an email.

Redstone Federal Credit Union joined with other credit unions and the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama to present a Fraud Summit aimed at helping residents to protect themselves. Fraud experts from the following agencies and organizations shared their insight with attendees:

  • Local law enforcement
  • FBI
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Securities Exchange Commission
  • Better Business Bureau of North Alabama
  • Identity Theft & Document Destruction

Two of the most prevalent consumer crimes in Alabama are caller ID spoofing and debit card fraud, including card skimming.

Caller ID spoofing occurs when a fraudster uses technology to mimic an actual phone number, such as your financial institution or your local police department. The name and number that shows on your caller ID is not always real.

Debit card information can be stolen from skimming devices placed on gas pumps, from unscrupulous online merchants or restaurant staff, or purchased from the dark web. With that information, thieves can create a new card and steal money from consumers’ financial accounts.

Check out these reports on combating fraud: