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The holiday season is almost here! With many members excitedly anticipating Black Friday deals and their Christmas shopping already underway, the season of giving should also be recognized as a season of vigilance when it comes to an increase in potential cyber scams. According to the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 2022 Online Scams Report, 55 percent of reported scams were initiated on an online platform, with 75 percent of those resulting in a monetary loss to the victim. While this may give you pause about participating in online interactions, know that there are many ways to identify potential scammers and protect your money and information. If you ever receive a suspicious email or text from an unknown sender, do not click on any links within it — delete it! These could be phishing emails — messages cybercriminals use to trick people into giving up personal information. Another sign that you may be the target of a scam is if the sender or caller maintains a sense of urgency. For example, they may say “If you do not provide your credit card information, your power will be shut off in 24 hours!” This is their attempt to cause people to make hasty decisions — like giving up their billing information! Know that DEC will always provide ample notice for members who have unpaid bills to pay them. This holiday season — and every day of the year — we want members to stay aware and stay safe online.

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