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Valley expert gives tips to avoid getting scammed during the holiday season

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PHOENIX — Holiday season is also Christmas for criminals.

It’s that time of the year when cyber-grinches will be hard at work trying to steal your Christmas. You need to be on your toes because they’re getting more clever with each passing year.

Ken Colburn with Data Doctors says you should only use web pages with the https, which means you’re on a secure, encrypted connection.

Avoid using debit cards for online shopping, which can be a gateway to your checking account for a cyber-criminal. Credit cards are the best way to buy online because they offer the most protection if you’re hacked.

“Stick to well-known retailers but very aware of online phishing scams,” Colburn said. “They’re very sophisticated and can easily make an email look like it’s coming from a trusted retailer offering fantastic deals in an effort to trick you into making a purchase.

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Another scam that’s always popular at this time of year is bogus charities.

“It’s pretty easy to create an email that will tug at your heart,” Colburn said.

Make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate charity. Check them out here.

And before making online purchases, Colburn says make sure your computer malware and virus protection is up to date.

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