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Bank Safe: Holiday Scams

by Madelyn McConnell

The holiday season is supposed to be about generosity and giving. Unfortunately, criminals know how to take advantage of this. As we head into the holidays, we want you to be prepared to protect yourself against these Grinch-like criminals. 

It’s a busy time for shopping, and cyber criminals use that to their advantage with online shopping scams. According to the FBI, the two most common holiday scams are non-delivery scams and non-payment scams. With non-delivery scams, fraudsters pretend to be sellers online, taking payments but never delivering the items. Non-payment scams are the opposite: criminals purchase items online but find ways to never pay the seller. 

So how do you protect yourself? Well, of course, always practice good online security hygiene, but beyond that? Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure it’s legit by doing a little research if you’re buying from a new-to-you website. And even if you think you know the website, check the URL before you buy. It should always start with “https” and criminals even try to spoof known websites with slight misspellings.
  • Use a credit card to purchase online. It will give you more protection than cash. And never wire money directly to an online seller. 
  • Never pay with a gift card. If someone asks you to pay with a gift card, walk away. It’s likely a scammer looking for a no-strings-attached payment. 
  • Donate wisely. The holidays are a big time for charitable giving. Watch out for charity scams as you choose where to donate. 
  • Use good sense. Criminals know what gifts are in demand. If you find a deal on a hot holiday item that feels too good to be true, it probably is.

GSB wants your holiday season to be merry and bright, so we hope you feel empowered to protect yourself against these scams. #BankSafe and have a happy holiday season!

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