Holiday shopping is in full force, and that means scammers are busy – on the internet, at the mall, and possibly even at your front door. Use the tips below to keep your finances safe and secure now and into the new year.
- Steer clear of bogus retail websites. Sometimes scammers create copycat websites to look like popular sites such as Amazon®, Target®, or Walmart®. Be sure to check the web address of sites you visit and be alert for misspellings in the URL. Product prices that seem too good to be true are another red flag that may indicate a bogus site.
- Be on the lookout for delivery and shipping scams. This may involve an email or text asking you to call a number or click a link to “confirm” your personal information before a package (that doesn’t exist) can be delivered. Also beware of fake Amazon® calls and messages. Impersonators are contacting people pretending to be from the online store and trying to scare them into giving up their personal information. Do not give this out – instead, go directly to your account to confirm status.
- Restrict Wi-Fi usage. Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections and avoid logging in to your financial accounts. If you need to use public Wi-Fi, use a VPN or use your cellular network instead. Visit FTC.gov for more information.
- Take advantage of e-services and alerts. With online and mobile banking, you can keep tabs on your accounts anytime and anywhere. Plus, account alerts and card alerts help you take action against fraudulent activity as soon as it occurs.
- Beware of remote access scams. Don't give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information – like access to your bank accounts. Often, these scammers pose as a fake tech support person or claim allowing them remote access is the only way to give you money or provide a refund. Don't do it, ever.
We wish you a happy (and safe) holiday season!