The holidays bring joy, vacation time, and overall good vibes, people generally are in the spirit of giving but its not all hot chocolate and gifts. Along with the holiday vibes comes stress and people who take advantage of the distracted and vulnerable.  Most people are busy trying to stretch their finances to afford presents, making travel plans and rushing to get everything done before taking a few days off. With everything going on during the holidays it can make you a target for online scammers. Scammers are always looking for their next victim, and unfortunately the holiday season creates good opportunities for online scams and identity theft. While scams and identity theft can happen it also be completely avoidable.

The number one reason behind identity theft is online shopping, sure its fast and easy and can be done from the comfort pf your home, but it is also very risky. Be mindful of the websites you are shopping on and be aware of holiday deals that seem to good to be true. Take extra precaution in protecting your passwords, use different passwords across different websites, and think about maybe setting up extra security with more identity verification. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi, most public networks are unsecured. Watch out for card skimming devices that are attached to ATMs and card readers.

Although fraud is at a higher risk during the holiday season, it can be avoided. Just keep this advice in mind especially as you work your way down your shopping list amid the frenzy of the season. Most importantly, stay safe this holiday season.

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