The most wonderful time of the year can sometimes bring holiday fear. Scammers are changing their tactics with the hopes of stealing your personal information. Financial advisor Brad Allen talks with Milwaukee’s WTMJ-4 about common holiday scams and offered tips to stay ahead of the Grinch.

Holiday Scams:

1. Seasonal Job Scams – Seasonal employment is very common as people are looking to earn some extra cash. People who are in or near retirement take a part-time, seasonal job to make money for gifts or to keep themselves busy. People in this age group are often more vulnerable to scams. A fake job posting will often ask you to pay money up front for “training costs” or even a “start-up kit”. If you see information like this in a job posting, that should be a red flag.

2. Gift Card Scams – If you see an online ad or receive an email offering a free gift card, don’t click on the link. It could be designed to collect your personal information. Never give personal information in exchange for a gift card. Thieves will also try sending emails saying you’ve won a free gift card but need to send money to cover shipping and handling.

2. Fake Charities – Beware of email and phone requests for donations, and never donate using cash or wire transfer. A check made out to the charity or a credit card are the safest options. Verify that the charity is real before donating and check how much of your money will actually be going to the cause. Look out for names that are similar to well-known charities but are a little bit different.

Click here for a list of charities eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Click here to see how charities will use your donation.

Prevention Tips:

1. Review Statements – Be extra cautious and to review their bank and credit account statements at least weekly, if not daily, this time of year. If you notice a problem, report it to your bank or credit card company right away.

2. Protect Your Information – Think about your surroundings when giving out personal information. Store clerks are now asking for email addresses, zip codes and phone numbers when you make a purchase. You can and should decline, especially if there are a lot of people around who may be listening. Never use public wi-fi to check your banking information or to make purchases using a credit card. Be sure to use a secure connection.

3. Do Your Homework – If you come across a deal online that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fake travel, ticket brokers and shopping sites may pop up just to try to get you to enter your personal or banking information. Only make purchases from online sites you know and trust.

Click here to check a business with the Better Business Bureau.