VIRUS WARNING: Holiday Shoppers Beware

A resurgence of a past computer virus attack is circulating once again this holiday season. The virus comes in an email that appears to be sent by UPS, FedEx, or the US Postal Service (USPS).  The text in the email claims that the delivery service was unable to complete delivery of a package sent to you.  It includes official looking package numbers and dates.

The email asks you to print out an attached invoice and sent it back.  DO NOT LAUNCH THE ATTACHMENT! The attachment is a .zip file that, when opened, will execute the virus and potentially damage your system configurations and stored files.

As we’ve mentioned before, we prefer to use www.snopes.com to confirm or refute any of these types of warnings and snopes is posting this as a legitimate threatClick here to read the official notice by snopes.

As we all get busy during the holidays and the shopping season gets into full swing, we hope that you will continue to be careful in dealing with any potential virus attacks, identity theft attempts, and financial scams.  Use snopes or Google to verify anything that looks or seems suspicious. If you do not trust an email message, call that company’s 1-800 number to verify that they have sent you something.  Do not give your personal information out to anyone you do not know and trust.  Do not submit passwords, account numbers, or your social security number to any website or in response to any email until you verify that the request is real.

Here are 5 additional tips to keep in mind as we enter the holiday season:

1.  Be careful in parking lots.  If possible, do not shop alone.  When not possible, be aware of your surroundings.  Keep packages locked and out of sight.  Do not leave valuables, packages, purses, etc in carts while loading your vehicle.

2.  Only trust secure websites. Do not submit your credit card numbers to any websites without first verifying that they are using a secure system.  We recommend that you use sites from known retailers and be sure that the page where you enter your information starts with https:// (rather than just http://).  The ‘s’ means Secured.

3. Update your virus software before you begin online shopping. The holiday season brings out the best in most of us, and the worst in others. Be sure your virus profile is up-to-date before you start cruising the internet for the latest deals.

4. Be careful with your holiday donations. The season of giving often means contributing to various non-profits or charitable organizations. Before you give of your hard earned money, be sure your donations are going to where they claim. When in doubt, delay giving until you can take your donation directly to the offices of the charity.

5. Check for Recalls.  With so much inventory flying off of shelves this time of year, it may be difficult to know if any known hazards are associated with the presents you are buying.  The US Consumer Product Safety Commission posts recalls of toys on their website. Click here to see the complete list. Use it before purchasing, especially if you are buying from Craigslist, eBay, or another third party supplier. Generally, mass retailers have cleared dangerous and recalled items from their shelves.

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About missionmortgage

A full-service professional mortgage banker providing lending in Texas for over 25 years. Our main office is located at 901 S. Mopac Expwy, Barton Oaks V- Suite 120, Austin, TX 78746 with branches in Lakeway, Houston, and Sealy. Mission Mortgage has been ranked as a Top 10 Mortgage Company in Austin for the past 7 years (Austin Business Journal).
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