Giving Gift

23 Nov

Will You Give An Empty Gift? Holiday Scams to Avoid

A meaningful gift is one you know the receiver will love. This could be a gift card, a handmade present or that expensive wish list item. But, sometimes the giving season can turn sour when scammers decide they want to have a good Christmas too.

Signet Federal Credit Union always has the safety of your accounts and identity as a priority. If you don’t already, follow our Facebook page to receive fraud alerts and security tips posted regularly.

As the holiday season gets underway, we want to help you protect yourself and your gifts. Here are three things to beware:

  • Empty gift cards

Gift cards are many times the go-to gift for that hard to buy for family member or friend. Sometimes you can even get better deals at local grocery stores and retail shops. But, don’t fall victim of giving an EMPTY gift card.

Scammers are finding ways to steal gift card identification numbers so as soon as you purchase the card, they immediately drain it of all funds. Then, come Christmas morning, you’re giving a $0 piece of plastic instead of the fun gift card you think you are.

You can protect your gift from this by:

-Purchasing a VISA gift card from Signet.

-Double checking to make sure the card or packaging hasn’t been tampered with. Is the pin number scratched off? Does it look like the entire ID number can be seen? If so, you might want to look for another gift card option.

-Keep your receipt and give it to the gift card recipient.

Learn more about gift card scams here.


  • Drained checking accounts

You keep your account numbers secure and your debit card number secure…but are you double checking the ATM before you use it? Are you hiding your pin number from the person behind you at the store? Simple precautions like this could help you keep your money and information secure. It’s always a good idea to double check your surroundings at an ATM and gently pull on the card scanner to make sure a skimmer hasn’t been attached. Here are more ATM safety tips to do every time you use an ATM.


  • Overnight credit card debt

Check your credit card account often as these can be vulnerable when used online or in the store. If your card or number is stolen, thieves may not waste time using it.

Double check your credit card limit to make sure it’s an affordable amount. Also, you may want to call and talk to your credit card company about what security measures they have in place. Many have texting or email alert systems set up to help notify you if suspicious activity is seen on your account.


Two main things to remember as you shop online and in store this holiday season is this:

  • Keep your cards and account secure.

If you don’t need your checkbook or credit card, leave them at home that day. Also, always check to make sure you’re on a secure internet connection and see “https” in the URL if you’re purchasing something online. If you only see “http:”, do not input any personal data such as your name, credit card information or address.

  • Check your accounts often.

After a big shopping spree, double check your account the day of and the next few days after. If you see any suspicious activity immediately report it. If you use a Signet Debit Card, our MobiMoney app can help you keep an eye on your account in real time. Every time your card is swiped at a store, you’ll immediately receive a notification about the amount that will be posted to your account. You also have the option to turn off your debit card if you do notice suspicious activity happening.


We are here to help you have a wonderful holiday season! Sadly, there are many scammers who want to cause you trouble, so take your online banking and purchasing security seriously.

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