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6 tips to help avoid holiday fraud

Date posted:  11/21/16 10:00:00 AM

It's the holiday season, when many spend time with family and friends, volunteer at local organizations and, of course, shop for gift giving. Unfortunately, despite this happy time of year, the holidays are also when scammers and cyber criminals try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims in an attempt to help deck their halls at someone else's expense.

It's important for consumers to be on guard — especially around the holidays. Years ago, just a few months after the holiday season, a customer noticed his checking account was overdrawn even though he had just been paid that day via electronic transfer. After talking with his UMB representative, it was determined that when he and his wife had made purchases using their debit card the day after Thanksgiving, someone had stolen their debit card numbers. These fraudsters (who were located several states away) not only made several purchases, but also contacted different countries to purchase various items. Fortunately, in working with their representative, everything was corrected before any major damage was done.

Understanding your cyber surroundings is vital in avoiding or detecting a scam. Using tools like online and mobile alerts and checking your bank statements more frequently during times where scams could be more likely (holidays, vacation, etc.) are great practices to put in place.

This particular story had a happy ending, but it could have been worse. For some, the effects of cyber fraud during the holidays can last well into the New Year and beyond. As the seasons change, cybercriminal activity does, too. Check out six common types of holiday fraud that lurk in the vast online universe.

Beware of holiday fraud

For more information regarding fraud, visit our Information Security and Privacy page at