Money Matters: Safe Holiday Shopping

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I know you're excited about Flack Friday shopping but keep this is mind.

It's the favorite time of the year for thieves.
But fear not; there are some things you can do to protect your identity, your cash and your bank account. The folks at Lifelock have some helpful hints to keep in mind.

1. Use credit instead of debit cards

If a thief gets your account information from your debit card, he can clean out your account. But if you use your credit card, see a fraudulent charge and report it within 30 days, the charges will be reversed and your liability is no more than $50. Or better yet, use gift cards where the only amount stolen is what's on the card.

2. Avoid applying for store cards

You may be tempted to save that extra 20% or more when you open a new account. But keep in mind many of those store employees are temporary seasonal employees.
Do you really want to fill out a form and hand it to that person with all your personal information on it?

3. Be carefull with Wi-Fi

If you're going to do online shopping, do it at home rather than in some coffee shop with public Wi-Fi. The person in the next table over might be running a program to snatch that financial information from you.

4. Use secure web sites

If you are shopping online, before you type out account numbers, make sure the site is secure.

Don't be so involved in getting the best deals that you let your guard down when it comes to protecting your personal financial information. That way you and yours will have a merry Christmas, not the crooks.

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