During this holiday season, many of us want to be helpful to others.  But scammers and thieves only want to take advantage of this feeling of goodwill so we need to be even more diligent during the holidays.

The Philadelphia Federal Credit Union has started a public awareness campaign to remind people to be very wary of a number of fraudulent schemes.  And from the “a picture is worth a thousand words” approach, they’ve posted the alerts on posters in their branches.  Brian Krebs has the poster on his blog and I encourage you to go to his blog, read the poster and maybe even print it out to have as a handy, ready reminder (see, Krebsonsecurity.com; “All Banks Should Display A Warning Like This”, November 30).

What are some of the warnings?  Here are just a few and the rest can be found on Mr. Krebs blog:

  1. Be wary of cashing or depositing a check you received for a lottery you never entered; or for a work at home program; or for a commission for accepting funds through your bank or PayPal;
  2. Be wary if you’ve been asked to wire Western Union or Money Gram for some of the funds to someone or to send money overseas;
  3. Be wary if you’ve responded to an email asking that you confirm, update or provide your account information.

All of these excellent awareness tips apply equally to any of your accounts —whether at a bank, credit union or any others you might have.  You could be getting scammed out of money as well as your personal and financial information that’s even more lucrative for the scammers and thieves.

Being pro-active about protecting your private information will help make this an even happier, safer holiday season for you.