Beware of Random Email Receipts

Imagine. You’re comfortably relaxing at home watching some rogue Sunday football game. The email dings on the nearest electronic device. “Thank you for your purchase at XYZ store. We appreciate your business!”

Huh?  Quizzically, you and your spouse/significant other look at each other. Neither has left the house to go shopping nor have shopped online at XYZ store in the last five minutes. Panic sets in. After quickly verifying the last four digits listed of the credit card on the emailed receipt, it did not match any credit cards in either of your wallets and reaffirming no such XYZ account exists, a phone call is placed to the credit department. Dodging and weaving the voice activated system, a person is finally reached to explain the transaction is not valid because neither of you haven’t even stepped into the store, let alone stepped out of the house all day. The person on the other line, tries not once, but TWICE to get your full social security number.

Ah, yea, don’t think so.

The conversation ends. Abruptly. But there’s still something quite unsettling. After taking a moment to calm down, you try calling customer service. This time, a different human curtly explains all XYZ accounts are attached to the account holders phone number. “Maybe it was possible the person operating the register accidentally ‘fat fingered’ the phone number which was attached to your email address,” they explain.

Seriously? Still not convinced your identity was not compromised, customer service then offers to connect you to the credit department. This time there is a message stating the department was not open on Sundays.

Weird isn’t it?? Or is it a scam? No, you haven’t entered the Twilight Zone, but the above is based on a true story. This holiday season when you’re out shopping and request an e-receipt, make sure your information is well protected. Here are a few tips:

When you sign up for e-receipts, find out how the business plans to keep your information secure. Be on the lookout for unsolicited emails requesting your personal information; they could be scams that download malware on your computer.

Ask if you can opt-out of receiving promotional emails. You may want to set up a separate email address to use for paperless receipts so that you can easily monitor it for spam.

Be alert of what lands in your inbox. Having receipts emailed can also make you susceptible to phishing and other identity theft scams.

Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Whether or not you plan to increase your internet and email use, it’s always a good idea to make sure your system’s security plan is updated regularly. Spammers feed off of online shoppers who fail to update their security patches.

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About Sandra Guile

Sandra is the PR Specialist for BBB Cincinnati, promoting BBB's message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, blogging, media relations, press releases, web content and other written materials. Her goal is to connect with consumers and business owners in a trustworthy environment and encouraging best practices.