The air turns crisp and cold. The weekend is here. Black Friday has passed, and Cyber Monday is over. Some packages arrive on your porch. Hopefully, you can catch a couple more sales before the Christmas season ends! You go online and find a deal that is so good you can’t even find dirt that cheap! But beware! Shopping comes with its risks.

Buying in a store may be safer than shopping online, however, it is smart to be vigilant during the Holidays to avoid being swindled out of your money. Maintaining an eye on your accounts and employing these best practices suggest ways to protect against financial scams:

  • Don’t give out account numbers online or over the phone
  • Make sure to check your online statements for any questionable charges
  • Keep an eye on your card when making purchases
    • When using an ATM or card, make sure the card reader is firmly attached (learn more about skimming here)
  •  Do not respond to emails or with anyone requesting your account information
  • When shopping online, make sure the web address begins with “https” since this signals a site that has been verified and trusted for making purchases. Use caution if the ‘s’ is missing from https.
  • Consider using trusted third parties like “Paypal.”
  • Keep it simple by using only one credit card which lets you focus on the one card instead of many.
  • Beware of a ‘failed delivery’ notification email when it comes to package delivery as stated on this site.
  • Watch out for free or public wifi — some scammers offer free wifi that looks like a legitimate one but then they access your information this way.
  • Avoid scam robocalls by using the tips in the video below

For a list provided by the NCUA on avoiding scams, follow this link.

Financial theft is serious but also remember identity theft is similar and both of these can really create chaos in our personal lives. Stay alert and keep the tips above in mind. To read more about identity theft, check out our other article on the matter here.

As a general rule, keep an eye out for what is going on around you and on your information. When something seems suspicious or too good to be true, go to the source directly and avoid giving out your personal data. Also, keep it simple. The less you have to track the less you have to worry about. As a final word, stay in touch with your financial institution and find resources directly from them to help stay vigilant this Christmas season!