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Don't Get Hooked by Phishing this Holiday Season

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Erin O'Toole
Consumers are urged to be leery of emails or texts claiming there is a problem with their financial accounts.

This year on Cyber Monday, retail and banking officials are urging online shoppers to be especially wary between now and the end of the year.

That's partly because of the proliferation of fake social media promotions on Twitter or Facebook that could lead to phishing and other forms of cyber crime.  Many of these offers promise free iPads or plane tickets. But clicking on a link could lead instead to email spam or identity theft.

Jenifer Waller is senior vice president with the Colorado Bankers’ Association. To stay safe, she advises people to shop with reputable online merchants they know, and visit their sites directly instead of clicking a link in an email.

“And check your statements frequently," Waller adds. "With online banking you can check your credit card, debit card and checking account statements almost hourly, if you choose to. We encourage people to check them frequently and report any unusual or unauthorized activity immediately.”

She advises consumers to be skeptical of emails or texts indicating a problem with their financial accounts – especially those requesting personal information such as passwords. Although the CBA isn’t aware of any specific scams targeting Cyber Monday online shoppers, Waller says they usually see a spike in phishing emails around the holidays.