Act Before the Hack

Holiday Hacks (But Not the Good Kind)

In the rush of the holiday season, you probably look for life hacks, which we like to call holiday hacks, that help you complete your list of preparations more efficiently. However, another kind of holiday hack definitely doesn’t make your life easier: the kind used by hackers and scammers to up their game during the holidays and take advantage of the increase in shopping and donations to charities. We’ve gathered some resources below that give you the 411 on these hacks and how to avoid them. (P.S. These same tips apply throughout the year, not just during the holidays!)

Safe Holiday Online Shopping

For those of you doing your holiday shopping from your couch and in your pajamas, check out this article from the Better Business Bureau. It provides great tips for making smart online shopping choices.

Make sure you keep in mind that a lot of what makes online shopping convenient for shoppers also makes it an attractive target for scammers and hackers. Check out the tips the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has for online shoppers.

Doing your holiday shopping online is convenient for you, and hackers and scammers love it too. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has your back! Check out the simple steps you can take to be more secure while you shop.

eSkimming is on the rise, especially with the increase in online shopping this holiday season. All businesses that sell online need to make sure their systems are ready to protect client’s information from eSkimming. For more information about how this kind of attack works and proactive steps businesses can take, check out the tips in this article from CNBC.

Gift Card Scams

Gift cards are one of the most popular holiday gifts and are widely available, making them great options for you last-minute shoppers! Unfortunately, it also makes them very popular with scammers, who can easily access and tamper with them. Be sure to look over this AARP list of tips for safely purchasing gift cards before you buy any!

Has anyone requested an urgent payment from you in the form of gift cards? Maybe they said they are an IRS agent collecting taxes or fines. Should you do it? Nope, that’s a scammer! This article from the Federal Trade Commission dives deeper into gift card payment scams and how to report them.

Charity Scams

The season of giving is here, and as usual, scammers are prepared to take advantage of your generosity. Want some tips to help you avoid their tactics? Take a look at the Federal Trade Commission’s tips for safe giving.

Before giving your end-of-year donations, look over this page from It’s full of information you should know before donating, including types of donations you can make and charity scams to avoid.

Do you want to make sure your end-of year donations count? Better watch out for scammers! Look over the Federal Trade Commission’s helpful tips about avoiding charity scams and keep them in mind when you donate.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Hackers will try to track down your information as you track down the best deals this holiday season. Check out these identity protection tips from the IRS to keep your personal information safe.

Protecting your identity doesn’t have to be difficult. This United Way article has 10 easy tips you can follow, like keeping your mail safe and shredding financial information, to help keep your identity away from thieves.

No one wants to deal with a stolen identity, especially during the holiday season. To help keep that task off your holiday checklist, take a look at these tips from Experian for securing your identity while holiday shopping online.

No one wants their personal information to be stolen, but when it is, taking quick action can help limit the damage done. The website from the Federal Trade Commission has the steps you need to take based on the information stolen and/or the data breach that affected you.

Has your personal information been stolen? Report it through from the Federal Trade Commission. This website will help you develop a recovery plan with clear action steps.

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