Security Matters: Make it a Happy Holiday With Tips from UK's CISO

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 23, 2015) — Many identity and cyber thieves really do think that the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year; however, if you would rather thwart their attempts to swindle and defraud you and try to enjoy the festivities yourself, there are a few steps you can take, according to University of Kentucky Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Michael Carr.

Below are Carr's tips for steering clear of identity and cyber thieves:

Too good to be true.  Online scammers will often build complete copies of well-known websites and then lure you to them with attractive prices. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, steer clear of prices from private sellers that are way too low or tied to hard-luck stories that try to justify why the person must sell quickly. These are common ploys to get payment in advance and you’ll likely not get the merchandise you bought.

Use credit, not debit.  If debit card information is stolen and then used to access your bank account, whatever money gets taken may be gone for good. With credit cards, you can dispute charges and get bogus purchases reversed. 

Text me. Many financial institutions can text you if your credit card is used or if the card is used for purchases over a set amount. The next best thing to not having your credit card stolen is learning about it as soon as possible if it happens. Contact your bank for more details.

Review things daily. You probably check in with Twitter, Instagram, Vine or Snapchat daily. Do the same with your bank accounts; login and review them daily. If you see even a $1 transaction that is not familiar, call the bank.

Monitor bank, credit card and loan statements. If you typically receive your credit card statement via email or the Postal Service and it doesn’t come on time, it’s not likely that your bank has given you the month off. It’s more likely that someone has hijacked your account. Contact your bank ASAP.

Safeguard important numbers, passwords and PIN’s.  Never carry them in your wallet or leave them lying around your home or work area where someone can easily see them and write them down. If you must keep a list of important account numbers, file them in a secure, private place that is not easily accessed.

For any questions about privacy and computer security, contact Carr at

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,