Protect your money with these holiday shopping tips

Holiday shopping season -- and an increase in shopping-related crime -- is upon us. Follow the easy tips below for merry in-store and online shopping experiences.

In-store Shopping and ATM’s

•  Card skimmers – Card skimming is an ongoing and serious problem. If an ATM or point-of-purchase terminal appears to be altered, don’t swipe your card and contact management.

•  ATM safety - Be cognizant of your surroundings and check them before, during and after your transaction. Always cover your hand when inputting your PIN. Don’t need a large amount of cash? Save the ATM trip as many stores allow you to get cash when making a debit purchase.

•  Use your card – Avoid carrying cash if you don’t have to and use your debit, credit or prepaid card for purchases. When you hand your card to a cashier, always remember to get it back.

Online Shopping

•  Unreal offers – If it looks suspicious or too good to be true, it might be a scam. Delete suspicious emails immediately and avoid completing forms on suspicious sites.

•  Know the URL – Scammers often advertise big ticket items on “look-alike” sites, often designed to represent another well-known site. Always check the site you’re on before providing any type of personal information.

•  Stay secure – For mobile purchases, always use a device that has up-to-date security software and systems. You can usually find this in your phone’s settings, or consult your phone carrier.