How to Avoid Holiday Scams

Posted on

‘Tis the season to be wary of deals that are too good to be true, emails that want to know too much about you, and fake charities that want your money too.

While the holidays are a great time for giving, crooks target them for taking - whether it’s your personal information or your money.

Here are some tips for avoiding common holiday scams:

Beware of online deals that seem too good to be true.

If little-known sites are showing prices far below normal or if they claim to have popular products that major retails can’t keep in stock, think twice before ordering – you could lose your money. This kind of scam tries to take advantage of your desire for a great deal.

Be cautious. You’ll be safer paying more at a business you trust and has a good reputation.

Don’t get stung by email scams.

These come wrapped in many ways.

Some impersonate your financial institution and ask for personal or account information. And others pretend to be shipping companies, telling you they need personal information or money before a gift can be delivered. Others try to get you to download ‘free’ holiday software or to click for a special greeting.

Most are fake and are trying to steal personal information, account numbers, or infect your computer with malware. Never click on links or download files from these unsolicited emails. If you suspect one might be real, it’s always best to search for the business’ official web address or call their official phone number to see if it is legitimate.

Remain skeptical of unsolicited calls and texts.

Scammers often resort to unsolicited calls and texts during the holiday season. Remember that caller IDs can be spoofed and be cautious giving out personal or financial information to these unsolicited callers. If the call seems suspicious, hang up and call the number on the back of your bank card or at the official number on their website.

Vet charities before donating.

Scammers often target the season’s generosity by creating fraudulent charities. You should always verify the legitimacy of a charity before donating. Instead of responding to charity emails or someone calling and claiming to represent a charity, find a way to donate directly to the charity of your choice.

Monitor your financial and credit card statements.

While you should regularly check your debit and credit card online accounts or statements for irregularities, it’s especially important to inspect them for unexpected purchases during the holidays. Report any problems immediately.

Use a credit card to pay for online purchases.

Keep in mind when making online purchases that credit cards often provide an added layer of security and consumer protection against fraud. Most credit card companies provide a fraud liability guarantee which limits liability for unauthorized charges.

Always, remember to be careful. And don’t let a scam spoil a great holiday.


Financial Education