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Be aware of scammers before you Black Friday shop

With Black Friday shopping trips fast approaching, experts want to remind consumers that this increased traffic in holiday purchases may also bring an increase in scammers.

President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana, Sharane Gott, says, "So first of all, you want to arm yourself with information. That's the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Be aware of what you're using, and when to use it. So a debit card is like electronic money. It immediately comes out of your bank account." 

Experts say the only safe place to use your debit card is at a bank. 

"The other thing is where is it safe to use it? Positively not on the Internet, positively not in an email, do you want to give your debit card. Unless you know the store, the vendor, whatever it might be really, really well. I would say don't use it," adds Gott. 

Fred Mills, President and CEO of Farmers Merchants Bank & Trust, says it's best to not give away your bank account information no matter the circumstance.   

"Don't give your account information to a stranger. Always be aware that somebody's trying to take something from you. Don't give it away," explains Mills. 

Gott says, "You want to give yourself a gift? Give yourself the gift of money in your bank account, in your checking account, in your savings account. If you have credit cards with the bank that you choose to download the app or any other credit card that you have, you can download an app with it." 

"For your Internet banking account or mobile deposits, make sure your passwords are pretty complex,” adds Mills. “Make sure that you change it on a regular basis and don't share it with anyone." 

The Better Business Bureau recommends that if you don't have a credit card, you do have the option of purchasing a credit card for a certain amount, like a gift certificate, that you pay before with cash.

When shopping, experts say to use ATMs in banks rather than standalones.


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