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Scams to watch for this holiday season

The holidays usually include increased shopping, spending and traveling. This season, but on the lookout for scams and scammers.

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, Americans are in the full swing of holiday spending. From turkeys to turntables to tech toys, this month it’s especially important to keep security habits front and center when traveling or making purchases online or in retail outlets.

To help, here are a few tips to help you save time and stay on track:

Be careful where you charge your mobile device – During the season, more than likely you might find yourself in need of a smartphone charge. Some authorities are warning against using public USB chargers because of a potential scam called “juice jacking.” This happens when a USB port is taken over by a cybercriminal. Within minutes of being plugged in to one of these compromised ports, malware is injected, locking your device or sending your private data like passwords, addresses or even a full back-up to the fraudster.

Avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks – Ask your hotel about its security protocol before connecting to the internet by asking what systems they have that help keep data and connected devices secure. And be extra cautious if using the free Wi-Fi at coffee shops and retail stores. If you must free Wi-Fi, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network.

Learn to spot an ATM or pay-at-the-pump card skimmer – Before you slide your card in a fuel pump or ATM, take a look at the keyboard and card reader to see if they have been tampered with or damaged. In addition, check to see if the pay-at-the-pump sticker seal is broken. Avoid gas pumps that are out of sight of the clerk and ATMs from nonbanks or in areas with little traffic.

Consider using your smart device’s mobile wallet – Your mobile device has digital wallet apps that can help keep your account data protected while also making purchases both easier and safer. Visit the Apple App store or Google Play to find the wallet apps that work with your device.

For more news and tips to help keep your personal and business data safe, visit

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