Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
November 7, 2023

Four Tips to Avoid Common Holiday Scams

The holiday season is a time of cheer and generosity. It’s also a time for increased fraud and scams. With the winter holidays fast approaching and the online shopping season in full swing, we want to remind you about staying vigilant to avoid fraud. Here are four tips to help you keep your money and personal information safe from holiday scams.

1. Be cautious when opening emails.

Though you may be tempted to click on emails advertising sales, be careful to only visit trusted websites. Don’t open attachments or click on links within emails you didn’t ask to receive. Did you receive an email from a retailer you’ve never heard of advertising cut-rate prices on name-brand merchandise? Chances are if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The FBI warns that scammers can use email marketing to steal your personal information, so be wary about what you click on and where you choose to make purchases.* When in doubt, you should visit the retailer’s website directly through an internet search, rather than navigating from an email link.

2. Protect your personal information.

If someone is asking for your personal information, that’s a major red flag — even when the person claims to be from a government agency, retail store or charitable organization. To help protect yourself, you should:

  • Never give out personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers or bank account numbers, over the phone or via email. Grow Financial will never ask you for your PIN, login password or Social Security number via email.
  • Verify all requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  • Only use secure Wi-Fi networks when shopping online because using a public Wi-Fi network to conduct any purchase is risky.
  • Never reuse passwords across the internet. With just one data breach, scammers could have access to several of your online accounts if you’ve used the same password! Make sure to use strong, unique passwords for each online account.

3. Don’t let your heart run away with your head.

Phishers can make very convincing spam links to get your information by pretending to be charities and taking advantage of consumer goodwill during the holidays. Always search for a charity’s official website directly to make sure you’re on the real site before donating money. Learn more about phishing scams.

4. Stay informed about new scams.

As online scams are on the rise, you’ll want to stay updated about ways to protect yourself. In addition to the tips above, we recommend and FBI Cyber Crime as resources to learn more about avoiding new scams. If you see suspicious activity on your account or receive any suspicious phone calls, please let us know right away by calling 800.839.6328.

Do you believe you’ve been the victim of a holiday scam or an online or internet-enabled crime? File a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as soon as possible. Visit for more information, including tips and updates about current crime trends.

*FBI Press Release: ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Scams. Released December 1, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2023.

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