Holiday Scams and How To Avoid Them

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also when there are the most holiday scams. For many some consumers, it can be easy to fall victim to various scams as they attempt to shop for gifts. When you want to protect yourself and your pocketbook, there are a few holiday scams to be aware of and tips to follow to avoid becoming a victim. Fake Job Postings Many people are in need of extra cash during the holiday season to afford gifts for family members and friends. As many people look to pick up an extra job, fake job postings can begin to appear online. Be careful applying for positions that ask you to pay money upfront to cover the cost of training costs or start-up kits. Free Gift Cards Free gift cards are sometimes offered through scam emails or websites that provide an incentive for submitting personal information. Although you may want to score free money, it can mean submitting your personal information and having it collected by a thief who will attempt to steal your identity. Avoid Fake Charities It can be easy to feel generous during the holiday season when many families are in need. Avoid donating to a fake charity by verifying that it's a legitimate organization and that the funds are used wisely. Read the fine print to determine how much money will go to the actual cause. Writing a check should be considered one of the safest ways to donate money because it'll allow you to track the funds. Avoid giving your credit card information to solicitors over the phone. Courier Cons During the holidays, be alert of emails that you receive from DHL, FedEx, or the U.S. Postal Service claiming that you have a package that needs to be picked up. Most courier services don't have email addresses, meaning that you received a scam email. Clicking on the email can cause malware to obtain sensitive data and have access to your credit card information and passwords. Online Greeting Cards Many adults in retirement open cards online during the holidays, which can be infected with malware. Opening any greeting cards from a name that you don't recognize can put you at risk of being hacked. Viruses are common in ecards or holiday-themed screensavers that you're offered via email. Legitimate e-card companies require a coupon code to be opened to ensure that you can safely access the website and avoid putting your personal information at risk. Rogue Websites Thieves and criminals also may attempt to steal information through rogue websites that are set up and appear when performing a search for "Christmas gifts." The sites often promise deals and discounts, which entice consumers. If you make a purchase through websites that are not legitimate, your personal information can easily be obtained once you type in your credit card information and address, according to aarp.org. If you choose to do online shopping, read the website addresses and look for contact information. The website should include an address and a phone number. You can also visit Whois.net to determine who owns the website. Calling the phone number that is provided will also make it easier to determine if it's a reputable company that you can trust.

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