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Avoiding Scams During the Holiday Season

online_shopping_packagesAvoiding Scams During the Holiday Season

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Avoiding Scams During the Holiday Season

During the busy holiday season, many of us are rushing to get our shopping completed and it’s easy to let down our guard against scams. Here are a few tips for safety.

When shopping online and purchasing from an unfamiliar merchant, check them out before buying from them. Look for reviews of the seller by typing their name in a search engine. Be sure to read their privacy policy. Make sure that your that your transaction is secure by looking for the closed padlock and for https (or shttp) at the beginning of the address. For more safe online shopping practices, read this news release from the FTC and National Cyber Security Alliance.

Phishing scams, which attempt to steal your account and personal information, take many forms and can come through email, pop-up messages, phone calls, and even the mail. Phishing—Don’t Take That Bait provides more tips for avoiding these scams. Holiday season is a favorite time for phishing crooks.

Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. If you have online access to your credit card accounts, review the transactions frequently to make sure they are legitimate. You can also check transactions over the phone by calling the custom service number.

An old “phish” that’s occurring again: If you receive a phone call from the “security and fraud” department of Visa, MasterCard or other credit card company, don’t provide the caller any information. Hang up and call the card company using the phone number on your latest statement. An example of this type of scam, is to ask you to verify that you have your card in your possession by providing the caller with the 3-digit security code on the back of the card. No matter how believable the caller sounds, remember that credit card companies never check for information this way.