With Christmas less than two months away, the shopping season is upon us. It can be considered a fun if frenetic time of year, but it is open season for scam artists.

 Be aware, and be safe – especially when using the internet to do your holiday shopping. Here are some things to keep in mind:

 E-Cards: These are fun to give, and make giving easier. However, you should avoid those where the sender’s name is not apparent, and those in which you are asked to give additional information to get the card.

 Phony Charities: Scammers take advantage of your giving spirit with charities that send fake emails, suddenly pop up on social media sites and even solicit through text messages.

 Free Gift Cards: This is a favorite of scammers. This can happen through pop-up ads and email that asks you for personal information that will be used to steal your identity.

 Social Media Gift Exchange: Sounds fun, right? Someone will ask you to buy one gift and promise 20 in return. It’s most likely a pyramid scheme and is illegal.

 Emergency Scam: This is a popular one. Someone calls telling you that a family member or loved on has been in an accident, hospitalized while in a foreign country, or arrested. Don’t ever send money unless you can confirm with the loved one that it is true.

 Letters from Santa: Sadly, even Santa isn’t safe these days. Companies mimic and personalize letters from Santa. They then use these letters to get personal information. Always confirm with your local BBB that these firms are legitimate.

 Shopping Online: Scammers have upped their game where online shopping is concerned. Use a credit (not debit) card when doing your online shopping. Only shop on secure websites, and look for the extra “s” in the online address to ensure your security.

 If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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