A few weeks back I had my debit card information stole, and it was a process to get everything back in order. I had to file complaints, launch investigations, and wait for a new card. The entire process took about two weeks, but was just annoying and tedious.

Gift cards have become the most popular item to give and get during the holidays. But beware! Do not buy these cards on online exchange sites. Even though you could be getting an amazing discount the threat of your information being stolen is not worth it.

You can purchase gift cards to anywhere at CVS, Target, or Amazon without ever having to find the actual store you want.

We have all seen the advertisement on Facebook or Instagram that offer Oakley Glasses or pricey watches at insane discounts! These discounts seem too good to be true, and they usually are. These items are usually fake or severely damaged.

I even know someone who ordered a brand new iPhone and all that came a box full of tissues. Beware these shady looking discount sites.

Even though I love Amazon and Amazon Prime because I do not have to set foot in an actual store, I do sometime ship directly to a store. When I order things from Kohl’s or Best Buy I usually have these items shipped to the store nearest me, and usually get free shipping in the process.

Make sure when shipping directly to the store, the business has a check ID policy. This way a scammer will not be able to claim your merchandise before you do.

My biggest piece of advice is to just be smart. If something looks suspicious, it most likely is. Happy Holidays (Shopping)!

[via NBC News]