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Beware of Holiday Scams


Be extra cautious online over the holidays, as criminals are very active during this time of year. If you plan to participate in Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday specials, or other online holiday shopping, take extra precautions to ensure you don’t fall victim to an online scam.

Tips to avoid holiday scams:

  • Secure sites: Shop on sites you trust. Look for the https:// and a padlock icon. This indicates communications between your computer and the website are encrypted.

    screenshot of url with https:// and padlock

  • Look-alike websites: When shopping online, check the URL to make sure it’s the correct site. Watch out for fake sites with similar, but slightly different URLs.

  • Don’t pay with a debit card: Use a credit card (not debit) online. Credit cards make it easier to get back stolen funds from fraudulent transactions.

  • Free gift cards: Pop-up ads or emails offering free gift cards are often just a ploy to get your personal information that can later be used for identity theft.

  • Confirm your order: Be wary of emails requesting “more” information to “complete your order.” Watch for cues that it is a legitimate email, like a reference to the item you purchased, your name, and shipping address.

  • Fake shipping notifications: Fake Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and other shipping-related emails are common this time of year. Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you have verified them.

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