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Shopping safely this Holiday Season

After the explosion of online shopping that we've seen throughout the pandemic, it’s likely no surprise to you that more than 60% of U.S. consumers prefer to buy their gifts online. If you’re one of them, it’s vital to keep your personal information secure so that you can avoid the headache of online scams.

With the holidays quickly approaching, here are a few pieces of advice we rounded up for you to consider.

  1. Shop familiar websites. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example). Those are the oldest tricks in the book.

  2. Look for the “S.” Never buy anything using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). You'll know a site does because the URL will start with HTTPS—instead of just HTTP.

  3. Consider a password manager. No matter how strong your password is, you’re putting yourself and your personal information at major risk if you use the same one for every site. A password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Bitwarden creates uncrackable passwords, keeps track of them, and enters them for you.

  4. Check for updates in your antivirus program. Protect against malware by updating your antivirus program. Remember, it's not enough to have it installed—it has to be up-to-date to be effective.

  5. Proceed with caution when shopping on public Wi-Fi. If you're shopping via a public hotspot, stick to known networks. A safer bet? Use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your true IP address and mask your identity and location.

  6. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. Unusually low prices could be a red flag you’ve landed on a fake site set up to snag your personal information or steal your money.

  7. Don’t give your Social Security number. No retailer should ever ask for your Social Security number. If it does, run!

  8. Use credit when you can. Unlike a debit card, a credit card doesn’t give direct access to your bank account. Plus, most credit cards offer $0 liability for fraud.

If you do get scammed, file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center—and if we can help you sort it all out in any way, do not hesitate to reach out.

Take care, shop safely, and happy holidays!

This presentation is not an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled from third party sources and is believed to be reliable; however, its accuracy is not guaranteed and should not be relied upon in any way, whatsoever. This presentation may not be construed as investment advice and does not give investment recommendations. Any opinion included in this report constitutes our judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. The views expressed are those of the author as of the date noted, are subject to change based on market and other various conditions. Material discussed is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific investment, tax or legal advice. Keep in mind that current and historical facts may not be indicative of future results. Certain risks exist with any type of investment and should be considered carefully before making any investment decisions. Keep in mind that current and historical facts may not be indicative of future results. The information provided is for educational purposes only and not intended to provide any investment, tax or legal advice. Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on our Form ADV Part 2 available upon request or at the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website.

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