Tis the Season – Holiday Shopping Tips

Holiday shopping is in full swing! As we go from store to store searching for the best deals, scammers are shopping for victims and ways to obtain access to our wallets. It’s always best to shop in a group and walk in lighted areas. Travel as light as possible carrying only the necessary credit cards, cash, and identifications. Follow these tips to help keep you, and your money, safe during holiday shopping:

Credit Card vs. Debit Cards: Using a credit card versus a debit card gives better protection against card jacking, which happens when a card skimmer is placed on credit card reader in a store. Disputing charges on a credit card is a much better option than having your bank account depleted while trying to get your money restored.

A couple is shopping together and laughing

Debit Card Personal Identification Number (PIN): If you’re using your debit card to grocery shop for the holidays, its best to hit the ‘green arrow button’ for credit instead of debit. Doing so will bypass the debit feature requesting you to punch in your PIN, protecting your card from being compromised.

Retail Store Credit Cards: Retail store cards are credit cards that can be used only in a single store or at an affiliated group of stores. The advantage of these cards is that they tend to be easier to get, even if you have a poor or limited credit history. The downside is that they may charge higher interest rates and service fees than traditional credit cards. Although you may receive incentives to open a new account, you could end up paying significantly more for your purchase as a result of interest and extra fees.

Using Cash: Even though using cash keeps you from racking up credit card debt, it can be unsafe to pull out a wad of cash for a purchase. Try to limit the amount of cash you are carrying and be mindful of your surroundings — you never know who is watching!

Online Transactions: During the holiday season you may need to ‘move some money around’ to meet some financial obligations. When making online transactions, remember to ‘log out’ of your account, so your information is not hanging out in cyberspace.

Online Shopping: Shop at websites you trust. To recognize a secure website, make sure the lock 🔒 is in a closed position and “https” is displayed in the URL.

Money Transfer: Sending money using payment methods such as Zelle, Cash App, or Venmo, may reach your family and friends faster for the holidays. Just remember, if you receive a text message to ‘verify if you’ve sent’ money this way, do not reply yes or no — simply delete the text, especially if you know you didn’t perform the action. Then verify with your bank if you have any concerns.

Copycat Websites: There are many copycat websites surfacing during the holiday shopping season. Pay careful attention that you are shopping on the official site of your preferred retailer, for example, amazon.com vs. amazon.con.

Payment Verification Scams: Beware of any messages you receive indicating ‘there has been a problem with your purchase’ and instructs you to re-enter your payment information — verify the website closely before doing so.

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Last updated: Dec 9, 2022 @ 12:34 pm