Holiday fraud expected to spike as shopping does

Holiday fraud expected to spike as shopping does

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Christmas songs are playing on the radio, and some shoppers are already getting a head start on Christmas gift buying, which is only 48 days away.

However, with the influx of shoppers expected to grow, police also expect to see a spike in theft and fraud.

"There's just so many people, the crooks are able to blend in a little better," said Sgt. John Bailey with the Columbus Financial Crimes unit.

Packed malls and stressed out holiday shoppers are challenges many take on each year to get those perfect gifts, but the process could pose threats to more than just your sanity.

"The holidays are a time for a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people, a lot of spending and stuff like that, but at the same time the crooks know this as well so they're going to be out in numbers trying to find as many victims as they can," said Bailey.

Officials across the country and here in the Valley say they see an increase in car break-ins and financial crimes. They say never lose sight of credit or debit cards on bustling check out counters, and remember to protect your pin number as well. Officials also say leaving shopping bags or purses and wallets in your car could be extra dangerous during the season, but dangers can also be lurking right at home when you're shopping online.

"You need to make sure all your fire walls and security systems are up to date before you start putting personal credit card information," said Bailey.

While checking your bank accounts regularly all year is advised, Wells Fargo administrators say it's even more important during the next few months to help prevent fraud.

"Not just our location, but any bank should offer account alerts whether it's through their online banking, through their mobile device, text messaging, and you know making sure you're monitoring your account you know on a daily basis is really critical," said District Wells Fargo Manager Jackie Burke.

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