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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Top 10 Fraud Tips

November 13, 2023

Christmas stocking hanging by a fireplace

While everyone is busy during the holidays, the bad guys are busy too. But they're not shopping for the same things you are. Here are 10 ways you can keep you and your money safe this holiday season.

Never share your username and password

Never share your login credentials for your online banking or person-to-person payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, Paypal, CashApp, or others. Fraudsters commonly entice individuals to provide their login information by saying they need it to process a refund, for example. Once they have access, they can quickly transfer money to another account.

Do not re-use any of your passwords

Instead, use a password manager to create hard-to-break passwords. Re-using any password is literally an invitation to get hacked.

Never click on links in emails

If you want to shop at a site, enter that site address in your browser. There are thousands of fake sites that look almost identical to the real thing. Don't fall for evil-twin shopping sites.

Don't open attachments with special offers

It's a classic scam. The offer should be in the email and you should be able to see it right away.

Watch for malicious ads and popups

Do not click on ads that sound too good to be true, and ignore popups that might propose the "best deal ever".

Beware of e-skimmers

This is a new one. Do you know that bad guys sometimes skim your credit card at gas stations or ATMs? Well, there is a new flavor of that. The shopping website you order from might be infected with a "e-skimmer" and they steal your card data when you check out. Make sure you are using a secure, trusted site before entering your payment information.

Use one credit card for online purchases

Make sure your card company has your cell phone number and email so they can contact you if they detect suspicious activity. If you think you might have been scammed, stay calm, freeze your card, and contact your card company.

Do not shop over a public Wi-Fi

You simply do not know if it's secure and who is listening. Only shop using a secure, trusted network. If you have no other way to shop, use a VPN which encrypts your traffic.

Be especially suspicious of free offers and gift card scams

Survey fraud and gift card scams are skyrocketing. Be cautious with surveys and only buy gift cards from trusted sources.

Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts

During this season, unexpected and strange charges might appear which could very well be the first sign your card or even your whole identity has been stolen. If you think you might have been scammed, stay calm and call your card company, nix that card and get a new one.

Keep your holidays merry by shopping safe this season!