In today’s hyper-connected digital universe, cyber criminals have more information than ever before, with the ability to reach you through unsecure public Wi-Fi, your email inbox, via text message, and more.
According to a Scam and Robocall Report from T-Mobile, Americans lost an estimated $39.5 billion to phone scams in 2022. Lucky for you, there are several ways to protect and safeguard your personal information to help prevent scammers from scammin’ this holiday season.
1. Avoid Public USB Ports: Traveling by plane this holiday season? The FCC warns that cyber criminals can download malware to public USB charging ports to gain access to your information. Prevent this by using an AC power outlet instead.
2. Beware of Charity Scams: It’s the season of giving, but the FCC warns many cyber criminals take advantage by creating fake charities staged as real nonprofit organizations to gain access to your payment information. Woof. To prevent this, don’t click on suspicious email or text links and verify the organization is registered at the National Association of State Charity Officials or Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance before donating this holiday season.
3. Screen Your Calls: Scammers are continuously upping their game, with total robocall attempts up 75% from 2021 to 2022. Detecting whether an incoming call is a potential scam isn’t always easy, but T-Mobile’s Scam Shield app makes it simple. Free to all T-Mobile customers, Scam Shield enhances your scam-blocking protections so you can say goodbye to scam calls. In 2022 alone, Scam Shield identified or blocked 41.5 billion scam calls in the T-Mobile network. That’s a whopping 1,317 calls identified or blocked every second. With Scam Shield, when the network detects a potential scam call, it is flagged and displayed as “Scam Likely” on your device. Customers who want even more protection can download the Scam Shield app or dial #662# from their T-Mobile smartphone to enable Scam Block, which automatically blocks any calls that match the database of scam calls. Take that, tricksters. To learn more, visit t-mobile.com/scamshield.
4. Shop Smarter Online: According to Statista, 57% of holiday shoppers plan to use their smartphone to make holiday purchases this year, and scammers are onto them, ramping up activity during the two weeks before Christmas. To minimize any cyber Grinches trying to steal your personal info, monitor your financial accounts regularly for suspicious charges and sign up for your bank or credit card company’s text or email notifications to stay on top of fraudulent activity.
5. Use Secure Tools: Safeguard your online accounts with Multi-Factor Authentication, which requires users to enter two different kinds of information to log in, like a password and one-time PIN code. It’s like having a digital bouncer to make sure only you get into your accounts. Another protection is a password manager, giving you the ability to securely store passwords across multiple platforms and websites. The tool also provides an autofill password function and a new password generator.
To learn more about the industry’s top fraud trends and how to stay protected from scammers year-round, check out T-Mobile’s Scam Shield Report found at t-mobile.com/news.
While cyber threats are on the rise, you can sleigh scams by staying vigilant and incorporating these best practices into your life this holiday season.