Even though the holidays should be a joyous and jolly season, this is a prime time for the bad guys to go after your personal information. I don't know about you but my e-mail inbox has really been hit hard lately with scammers trying to pull a fast one. They'll try passing themselves off as Netflix, Kohl's, Amazon, or anything to look legitimate - so you have to be careful. A close family member of mine had her identity stolen not even a month ago. The risks are very scary and real.

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The more you know the better. Protecting yourself and your family's private information is most important. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is serious when it comes to cracking down on e-mail scams. Below are solid tips and practices you can take to secure your privacy.

LOOK: PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST HOLIDAY E-MAIL SCAMS THIS YEAR WITH THESE 4 TIPS

Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva
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Follow Good Cybersecurity Practices

  • Don't click on anything that looks suspicious. This includes links from e-mails, websites, and social media.
  • Be on the lookout for phishing scams that try to obtain your personal information.
  • Be extra cautious if a company asks you to update passwords or account information. Make a phone call to the company to verify.

Be Aware of Who You Are Buying From or Selling To

  • Check websites to make sure they're legitimate.
  • If you're buying from a new company, do research and check reviews.
  • Make sure the buyer or seller is legitimate before moving forward with the transaction.
  • Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers for popular products in countries where there would be no such deals.
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva
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Be Cautious About How You Pay

  • Never wire money directly to a seller.
  • Never pay for items using a pre-paid gift card.
  • Use a credit card when you shop online and check your statement regularly. If you see a transaction that looks questionable, contact your credit card company immediately.

Follow the Shipping Progress

  • Acquire tracking numbers for anything you buy online. That way you can track and follow the delivery process.

Listen to the audio below for even more tips from the FBI on protecting yourself from holiday scams.

The more you know, right? The bad guys are out there and we all have to empower ourselves with the knowledge to keep our information safe. The holidays provide no escape from these malicious attempts. Be in the know, and stay safe out there this season.

When it comes to the top 10 cities targeted by phone scammers, Texas makes the list four times. See how things pan out below.

Look: Phone Scammers Target These 10 US Cities and 4 are in Texas

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