In 2016 one of every 97 retail transactions in the holiday season was a fraudulent attempt. Guarding yourself from the financial Grinch should be high on your list. Dan Ament, Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley joins with some tips to consider.

Don’t Let the Grinch Ruin Your Holiday SeasonReview and change your passwords …. regularly: Use strong, complex and frequently replaced passwords. Vary your passwords across the different sites you use. Make them as obscure as possible, using combinations of symbols, numbers, and upper-and-lower-case numbers. DO NOT store passwords on a device that is unsecure or written where they could be easily found.

Fake Shopping Sites, Apps & Phishing Emails: Online scams flourish over the holidays. Stay alert when shopping online, opening emails or downloading files. It’s like driving a car: Defensive driving can prevent mishaps. Don’t click any links or respond to emails that look suspicious. Never enter personal information on websites you don’t absolutely trust. Use Wi-Fi with care - When using Wi-Fi hotspots, can you trust the host? Hackers are known to park in public places, hosting “public” Wi-Fi with an innocuous-sounding hotspot name.

Package Theft: An estimated 23 million recipients have their shipments stolen from their doorstep. To reduce the risk, arrange for a delivery that requires a signature upon receipt.

Monitor your account statements: Given the volume of transactions this time of year for most consumers, review the accuracy of all transaction detail reported on credit card and bank statements. If someone is siphoning an account, the sooner you find out about it, the better.

What NOT to keep in your wallet or purse: Clean out your wallet. Do you need your checkbook? If not, leave it at home. (It is an easy source of your bank account info if lost or stolen), multiple credit cards? (if you use a primary credit card for purchases, leave the other(s) at home), personal info. i.e. notes with passwords and especially protect your Social Security number (knowing that it is a primary source of info enabling identity theft / financial fraud if stolen)

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Dan Ament is a Financial Advisor with The Ament Group at Morgan Stanley located in Wayzata, MN and may be reached at 952-475-4302 or . To learn more visit: