BOSTON (CBS) – Scammers are very aware that so many of us are frazzled this time of year and we let our guard down.

READ MORE: Victim In Lowell Homicide Identified As 22-Year-Old Dejah Jenkins-Minus

If you stop for coffee or lunch don’t pull out your phone or computer to do any online shopping. Avoid using public Wi-Fi. It’s accessible to anyone who wants to see what you’re doing online. Never enter credit card information, access sensitive email or do online banking with a public Wi-Fi connection.

And while I am thinking about it; never use the same password for your accounts. Easy for a thief to steal information from a shopping or gaming site and then they have access to your other accounts.

The sister gift scam that was on Facebook last year is back. The post claims that by participating in a “secret sister” gift exchange, you’ll receive 36 gifts in exchange for one $10 contribution.

Don’t! It’s a pyramid scheme where by you send $10 to person’s name on the top of the list with the hope you will get lots of money. If you receive an invitation to send a gift in hopes of receiving 36 report it to Facebook.

READ MORE: Boston Store Owners, Vendors Cash In On Small Business Saturday

And the US Postal service also weighs in on this scam; telling us that chain letters are illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are considered a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail, delivering them in person or by computer, violates the Postal Lottery Statute.

Social media can be a trolling ground for scammers. Do not accept a friend request from someone you do not know and don’t post your holiday schedule or trips online. You don’t want thieves to know you will gone the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

And there have been cases where folks are so pleased with themselves that they post a picture of a ticket they just snagged for a concert or sporting event. The thief then recreates a phony ticket and sells it online.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

MORE NEWS: Patriots Plane Flies UNH Men's Soccer Team To NCAA Tournament Game In Oregon

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.