Protect yourself online this holiday season

The holidays are everyone's favorite time of year — including scammers hoping to find your personal data under their trees. Between flurries of snow and shipping emails, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Computing & Information Technology has a few simple tips to keep your data and your money safe during the shopping season:

  • Beware scam emails: If you receive an email about shipping delays or asking for more information, it could be a scam. Reach out to the company directly for more information.
  • Look for secure sites: Look for the https:// at the beginning of the web page or the padlock symbol. These websites take extra steps to keep your data more secure. 
  • Be careful what information you share: Treat your personal data like your money. Shopping websites shouldn't need your date of birth or social security number. 
  • Use secure Wi-Fi: Do not use public wireless to do online shopping or check your bank account. These networks do not always offer the security needed to keep your data safe.
  • Use your smartphone to pay: Apple Pay and Google Pay use one-time codes to authorize purchases and help you avoid card skimmers. 
  • Avoid phone scams: The IRS or Social Security will never contact you by phone to tell you that you owe money. If you receive a call like this, hang up.
  • Save the gift cards for your family: Scammers may call you pretending to be the IRS or another institution and demand that you pay fees using gift cards. This is a popular tactic with scammers, but don't be fooled; legitimate organizations will never demand payment for fees using gift cards!

Here are some tips for how to respond if you fall victim to a scam:

  • Report the email: Forward the suspicious email to so that C&IT can block the sender. 
  • Delete the message: Looking at the message will typically not affect your account but clicking links or downloading attachments can be dangerous. 
  • Get help: If you did click on a link or attachment and provide your Wayne State login information, please contact the C&IT Help Desk at 313-577-4357 immediately. If you have given money to a scammer, contact your police department or Wayne State police to file a report as soon as possible.

For more information on cyber security at Wayne State, visit

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