The Norman Transcript

Business

December 9, 2012

Be aware of scareware as you enjoy safe holiday shopping

NORMAN — Every year about this time I have to reassess the Internet Christmas shopping situation.

Billions of dollars, in electronic form, are flying down wires, through the air and across the Internet, more this time of year than any other. This keeps the Internet bad guys busy, too, working on newer ways to steal your money.

“Scareware” (software designed to scare you into doing something) is one of the biggest threats this season. There you are, merrily bouncing from one shopping website to the next, when, suddenly, a window pops up telling you your computer has multiple viruses, or “registry errors” have been found, or the FBI has scanned your computer and is fining you for illegal activity. The bad guys are hoping these scams will scare you into paying them for phony repairs you don’t really need. To learn how to thwart scareware scams, read the column on my website titled, “Careful where you click,” from March, 2011.

Identity theft is another danger, and shoppers should move cautiously. However, it is possible to be too paranoid. A survey by Consumer Reports Webwatch shows that, due to concerns about identity theft, many people have stopped buying things online and even reduced their overall use of the Internet. While these paranoid measures are no doubt effective, they’re a bit like me avoiding getting mugged by never leaving the house.

To put things in perspective, many of the greatest dangers regarding identity theft have come, not from careless practices on the part of individual Internet users, but from lax security practices by major corporations. Bank of America, MCI, Choicepoint, TJ Maxx, Wachovia, Visa and American Express are only part of a huge list of organizations that have “accidentally” exposed the private financial information of millions of customers to criminals. However, these incidents, for the most part, had nothing to do with the Internet or scary hackers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Protect your online banking, shopping with encryption

    In my free, one-night class called “Fight the Internet Bad Guys and Win,” I teach everyday computer users how to stay out of trouble on the Internet. How to avoid virus infections, how to discern between the genuine and counterfeit, and ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tourism in Okla. creates $17.2 M in economic benefit

    A new National Park Service report shows that the 1,108,103 visitors to Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 spent $17.2 million and supported 176 jobs in the state. Oklahoma’s three national parks include: Washita Battlefield National ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Norman United Wayboard gets to work

    The United Way of Norman Board of Directors for 2014-15 has met for the first time. Leading the group as chair was Steve McDaniel of Oklahoma State Bank....

    July 20, 2014

  • Family tragedy opened one woman’s eyes to the need of the disabled

    Jean Bayles had a dream. The dream was to provide a fully accessible home for rent in Norman. Her brother, Terry Abbott, was injured when he was 15 and has been a quadriplegic since....

    July 13, 2014

  • HeyDay brings Boomerang back to Norman

    Boomerang Grille was a family-oriented, iconic restaurant for many Norman residents for many years. Few are the people who have not slid into those vinyl seated booths, picked up the red phone and ordered a Theta burger and onion rings or ...

    July 13, 2014

  • Residents serve Leadership board

    Four Norman residents are serving on the board of Leadership Oklahoma....

    July 6, 2014

  • Bellhops offer moving help to Norman

    Founders Cameron Doody and Stephen Vlahos launched Bellhops at Auburn University in 2011. “Our first year, we set a goal of 25 moves, and after three days we had moved 230 students during the college move in season.” Doody said. “That’s ...

    July 6, 2014