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December 13, 2022

12 Days of Safety Tips for Your Funds

Know the signs of a scammer and stay safe this season.

Unfortunately, the holidays see a large increase in scams due to the extra shopping, travel, and charitable giving during the season. Here are some helpful tips to keep your funds secure and avoid scams.

1. Protect your passwords.

Pick passwords that contain letters, numbers, and symbols and don’t contain obvious patterns. Reusing the same password across multiple platforms is tempting, but a data breach at Netflix could mean that your bank account is also at risk if you are using the same password for both of your accounts. Remembering all of those passwords can be difficult. Install a password manager such as Lastpass, Nordpass, or Dashlane, or keep a document of all your passwords in a safe location.

2. Avoid public WiFi.

When checking your bank account or making purchases online, use secure, personal WiFi. An encryptionfree connection means that hackers can monitor all file sharing and traffic that is sent between the user (you) and the server on a public WiFi network. Since anyone can join a public network, you have no idea who is watching or intercepting your information.

3. Learn from others’ experiences.

Always read customer reviews before purchasing from an online retailer. It’s important to gather a real idea about the company you’re purchasing from before you willingly give them your sensitive information.

4. Beware of email scams.

Don’t click on any suspicious links that ask for personal information like updating your account or changing your password. If you receive an email from an unfamiliar email address, a good rule of thumb is to never click on any links the user may have attached.

5. Use a credit card for online purchases.

If your card number does get stolen online, a stolen credit card number is much less of a hassle than a stolen debit card number. Credit cards have better consumer protections against fraud compared to debit cards.

6. Watch for package theft.

If you are worried about package theft, arrange for a delivery that requires your signature upon receipt, or track the drop off time so you are ready when it arrives.

7. Shop on secure sites.

When shopping online, check the URL before ordering. Fake sites are often similar to popular sites, but will have something like an extra letter or the ‘s’ missing in “https”.

8. Watch out for “freebies”.

Oftentimes, scammers will try offering you an outrageous free gift over text, email or even social media in order to get you to download a virus or get information. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

9. Avoid defunct gift cards.

During the holidays, many scammers will sell expired or empty gift cards. Make sure to examine the card and check to see if the activation code is exposed already.

10. Don’t fall for fake temp jobs.

For seasonal jobs, apply in-person or go directly to the company site. Some fake job postings direct to bogus sites and request personal information to apply.

11. Watch out for fake charities.

Scammers take advantage of your generosity during the holiday season and create fake charities and other fundraising activities. Make sure to check for authenticity before you donate.

12. Know your spending limit.

Set a holiday spending limit that you will stick to. Take the opportunity to organize your budget and think about where gift funds will be coming from.

Shopping during the holiday season can be a lot of fun. Make sure to always be aware and cautious when shopping online or in person. To find financial resources and learn how to keep your funds secure, visit your local Citizens First Bank online or in person. Our experienced team can help you find the right financial plan for you. Feel free to stop in, give us a call or visit our website today.