Be alert for scams this holiday season
Safeguard your identity, your bank account and the carefully chosen gifts you ordered for the holidays with these tips:
- Unless you are sure you'll be home to sign for a delivery, have it sent to your office or arrange to pick it up. It's too easy for thieves to follow delivery trucks and scoop packages off porches.
- Use credit cards, not debit cards. You're liable for only up to $50 of fraudulent credit card use. The loss to a bank account could be much more significant.
- Beware of fake smartphone shopping apps that capture your payment information and then leave you holding the bag. Shop trusted sites only.
- Buying gift cards? Be aware that thieves hit store gift card racks, secretly record or scan the numbers off the cards on racks and then check online (or the toll-free number) to see if cards have been activated. If they are, the scammers drain the funds. By the time your recipient tries to use the gift card, the money is long gone.
- Watch out for bogus online job applications that get you to share personal information that enables bad guys to steal your identity.
- Holiday e-cards can carry malicious software. Be cautious about opening them unless you know the sender or are familiar with the company.