The holiday season has always been a season of giving. Because people tend to be more generous and trusting during the holidays this is the time when scammers are scamming and thieves are out thieving. Sadly enough it is true, people take advantage of the wonderful holiday spirit.

The lesson is to be on the lookout, don’t purchase anything over the phone or Internet unless you contacted the company personally. Never give your credit card number out to someone who has phoned you. Make sure websites you are purchasing from are encrypted, meaning at the beginning of the url the http should end in an s — https, the s determines it is a secure website.

Also, when shopping this holiday season — beware. Do not carry a large purse into a crowded mall or shopping center. Place credit cards and checks in your front pocket where it is a lot harder for pickpockets to pick. Do not carry large amounts of cash, you can cancel credit cards and checks if they are lost or stolen; cash — you are just out of luck. Take packages to your car after each purchase, carrying large numbers of bags out of mall makes you an easy target. Place any bags you have purchased in the trunk of your car, do not leave it visible in the seats of the vehicle, this again makes stealing your car an added bonus or breaking in it more tempting.

Being aware of your surrounding and just aware in general is probably the easiest way to protect yourself this holiday season. Use common sense, no legitimate company would ever call and ask for credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or account numbers. If it smells fishy it probably is. So be smart, be safe and have a wonderful holiday season.

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