Decorations are popping up everywhere. There are twinkling lights and wreathes at every turn.

And the shoppers are out in force after a sustained rebound in the economy.

The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend close to $721 billion this holiday shopping season — up nearly 5% from the previous year.

Scammers want a piece of that action.

Last year, online fraud attempts rose 22% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Don’t let scammers ruin your holiday season. There are important and easy steps you can take to protect your privacy and wealth from attack right now…

Don’t Miss the Warning Signs

Hackers and scammers are constantly looking for ways to get their hands on your personal information. Just last week, Marriott International reported that a hack of its database involved the theft of personal information for up to 500 million customers.

Attackers managed to hide within the system for more than three years!

But you don’t have to fall for their tricks. Here are some easy steps you can take right now:

  1. Avoid using unsecured networks or devices. I know when you’re out in public and you’ve got some time to kill, it’s tempting to log into a free Wi-Fi hub to get a little holiday shopping done. But that unsecured network leaves you vulnerable. If you must use it, don’t ever enter sensitive information such as a credit card number or your Social Security number.
  2. Beware of phishing emails. Phishing emails often claim that an order has been delayed, or even pretend that an order has been placed on your credit card when you are sure you never placed that order. Don’t click on the links. Go directly to your credit card or bank website to check for the charge. Another popular scam is a fake shipping notification. Again, check the actual website. Don’t click on any links in the email.
  3. Don’t fall for the Santa letter scam. The promise of a letter from Santa Claus for your child or grandchild is tempting, but you could be putting your child’s personal information at risk.

The most important thing you can do is slow down and read anything you receive carefully. Don’t click on links in emails unless you are 100% sure that the sender is trustworthy.

Secure Your Privacy

The Better Business Bureau has released its 12 Scams of Christmas list. It provides great tips on what to look for when it comes to scams.

Keep this holiday season merry and as stress-free as possible. Safeguard your wealth and privacy against possible attacks with a little common sense and vigilance.


Jocelynn Smith

Editorial Director, Banyan Hill Publishing