Last-minute tips for avoiding scams at the holidays

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, scammers are shopping too, looking for people to swindle. Here are some tips to help you outsmart those bah-humbug scammers.

Online shopping? Pay by credit card.

Credit cards typically give you extra protection for online purchases. And many cards also offer benefits, like protection for returns and purchases. If unauthorized charges pop up on your statement, this would allow you to dispute those charges. Credit card protections can vary, so check with your issuer to understand all of your card’s protections.

Buy gift cards for gifts, not for payments.

Gift cards are a great answer for the teenager in your life. But they’re also a scammer’s favorite way to steal your money. Anyone who contacts you and demands that you pay them with a gift card, for any reason, is always a scammer. Report gift card scams directly to the card issuer, then report it to the FTC at Learn even more at

Research charities before you donate.

With the generous spirit of the holidays, and with year-end fundraising, ’tis the season for donations. Make sure your donation goes where you want it to, not into the hands of a scammer. If someone calls, asking you to give to a charity, don’t let them rush you into making a donation. Instead, research the charity to make sure your donation counts. Visit to learn more.

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