As many of you know, there are criminals out there looking to get your personal information and steal your money. There are dozens, if not thousands, of people illegally attempting to steal your identity, obtain access to your gift cards, or fraudulently access your money in many different ways. Don't be a victim this holiday season!

Here are 7 ways to protect yourself this holiday season:

1. Only purchase from reputable online sites and sites you frequently use

  • Use an online retailer that you know is secure. Sites that have a secure shopping cart and that you’ve used before may be your best bet.

2. Keep an eye on your Credit Card and Bank accounts

  • Make sure you check your statements online when you make purchases to verify the correct amounts.
  • Check them weekly. Even if you don’t make purchases, see if other charges are being made
  • If you have a question about a purchase, even if it’s a small purchase, call your Bank or Credit Card company and ask questions.

3. Make sure your Gift Card scratch off area is still intact

  • If the gift card scratch off is “scratched off,” money on the card may be missing. Hackers can drain your gift cards with the codes placed under the scratch off area. Make sure your gift cards have not been tampered with before you purchase them.

4. Look out for fake charities

  • Make sure you know who you are donating to. Some online charities may not be charities at all. Research the charity before you donate, make sure the link you use to donate is on their website. Ask yourself, does this look like a reputable charity?
  • Call and ask questions. If the charity does not have a phone number, it may be best not to donate.

5. Beware of package theft

  • With the rise in online shopping, there’s a rise in package theft. Make sure there is someone home to carry your package inside upon arrival.
  • If you don’t receive your package on the scheduled date, call the company and make sure it’s still on time for arrival.
  • If you have the means, get a camera for your door step to see the activity happening outside your door.

6. Change the passwords to your online accounts, especially your Bank accounts, frequently and make the password complex

  • This was stated in a recent blog post from us at Rhinebeck Bank. It’s always best to change your passwords monthly. This will help prevent your account from being hacked.

7. Don’t respond to pop-up advertisements

  • These may take you to a site where hackers can take your information. Certain links that you click can leave your computer and information vulnerable. Don’t get click happy. Only click on links you feel are secure, if you’re unsure, don’t click.

This year use these methods to protect yourself and leave yourself with less risk! Good luck and happy shopping from all of us at Rhinebeck Bank!


Michelle Barone-Lepore

SVP, Marketing

Michelle Barone-Lepore - Headshot