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6 Tips to Shop Safe & Smart During the Holidays

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Don’t let Scrooge ruin your good cheer this holiday shopping season. Shop safe and smart as you embark on finding the perfect presents for your loved ones. Before you “shop until you drop,” be aware of these common tactics among scammers:

Phishing for information through email, instant messages and social networking websites. For example, scammers pose as retailers and send emails with subject lines like “order confirmation.” Never open the attachment. It could be malware or spyware to steal personal information. Always go to the source to see if it’s legitimate.

SMiShing is when you receive a text on your phone claiming to be from a reputable company and asking for your personal information to steal your identity. Messages may ask you to call back a number, visit a website or download content. Don’t take the bait!

Vishing (or Voice Phishing Call) is social engineering over the telephone to access your personal information. If you receive a phone call saying your debit card needs to be reactivated or there is a billing issue with your card, hang up. This is something your bank would never ask you to do.

Whether shopping in store or online, your best defense against scammers is to be proactive. Busey provides the following six tips:

1. Monitor your account. Use online and mobile banking to keep an eye on your transactions.

2. Beware of Phishing, SMiShing and Vishing scams. Criminals will try every trick in the book to steal your identity. Always check the source of that email, text message or phone call to protect yourself now and throughout the year.

3. Limit large sums of cash. Shoppers should be careful not to carry around large sums of cash. Unlike fraud on your debit or credit card—if cash is stolen, your money is gone for good.

4. Secure your internet connection. If shopping online, make sure you do so from a password protected Wi-Fi network. Never access online banking from a public Wi-Fi network.

5. Shop safely. Before making an online purchase, make sure the website uses secure technology. The web address should begin with ‘https’ and look for a tiny padlock symbol on the page.

6. Read the website’s privacy policy. Privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Remember, if you’ve fallen victim to a scam, file a police report and contact your bank immediately.

Visit the Information Security Center on to stay informed of any security issues, scams or alerts.


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