It’s that time of year, the holidays are here which means you are at even higher risk of being the victim of a fraudster. Keeping your information safe requires vigilance. Do not assume that it can’t happen to you. There are many different types of scams that fraudsters use, here are just a few to watch out for, especially during the holidays:

Charity Scams – Fraudsters create a charity that does not exist, or the money doesn’t go to those they claim. They solicit donations and keep the money.

Delivery Scams – Scammers place a note on your door informing you that you that they couldn’t deliver a package. They advise you to call a number. When you call they try to get personal information from you.

Letter from Santa Scams – These scams come in email form offering a handwritten letter to your child from Santa. You are then directed to a website to put in your credit card or personal information. Many of these sites will take your information and sell it to scammers.

So, how can you keep your information safe? Here are some tips:
  1. Think before you click. Always mouse over links to read the URL before clicking. Often times after seeing the URL, you will know if the site is legitimate or not.
  2. Only buy from secure websites. When making any online purchase, verify that the website is secure before putting your credit card information in.
  3. Use a second layer of protection. When possible use PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo and others to increase your transaction security. Also use multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
  4. Check your gift cards. Before purchasing a gift card, make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. Most gift cards have a scratch off for a PIN number, if you see yours has been scratched off, alert an associate.
  5. Keep your social security number safe. No retailer will ever ask for your social security number. This is a big red flag. If you see this, odds are they aren’t legit.
  6. Do your research. Take the time to look into the charity you are considering donating to. Never wire money or donate using a debit card. Credit cards and checks are the safest, but only after you have done your research.
  7. Shred any important information. When it comes to statements, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, etc. don’t just throw them away. Shred them. It’s not unheard of for fraudsters to comb through the trash looking for sensitive information.
  8. Avoid social media offers. You may see a post on social media where gift cards or vouchers are being given away. This is usually in exchange for completing a survey. The survey is designed to steal personal information.
There are so many different ways fraudsters are targeting consumers and they aren’t stopping. They continue to look for new ways to manipulate and steal vital information. Your best defense is vigilance. For more tips, visit our website.