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5 Common Holiday Scams to Avoid

During the busy holiday season, you may not know your credit card has been compromised until your monthly statement arrives. Unfortunately, Grinches take advantage of innocent people this time of year to steal their money and personal information. Before any unfamiliar charges appear, it’s important to be vigilant against fraud and identity theft. As you celebrate, keep these common holiday scams in mind to protect your wallet.

Online Shopping

Who can resist a good deal? While Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices are meant to be jaw dropping, be wary of unbelievable sales. If you’re shopping online and click on a deal, first look to see if the website is secure. If there is a green padlock symbol in the address bar, the site has security measures in place to keep payment information safe. An unsecure website does not always indicate a scam but to avoid potential fraud, never enter your personal details.

Malware Schemes

Throughout the holiday season, you’ll receive many emails from your favorite retailers. Always check the sender and look for any spelling errors that could indicate the business is being impersonated. If you are unsure, do not click any links in the email. Doing so could download malware onto your computer, designed to steal any saved personal information.

Grandparent Scam

It’s common for long-distance relatives to reconnect around the holidays. Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage of the elderly by posing as their grandchildren. The person pretends to be in trouble and asks for money; naturally, the grandparent wants to help right away. First, confirm the caller is in fact a relative by asking specific questions. Second, remember it’s never safe to give financial information over the phone to anyone. Check with another family member before proceeding with a wire transfer.

Fake Charities

Many people feel especially charitable this time of year. Scammers may try to reap the benefits of this kindness by setting up fake charities. Whether someone claims to be with a legitimate charity or makes up their own organization, ask for the official name, website, mailing address and federal employer identification number. If the person is unwilling or unable to answer your questions, do not make a donation before doing more research.

Gift Exchange

Social media is a breeding ground for fraudulent scams. Around the holidays, consumers may come across an amazing deal to buy one gift in exchange for several more. The initial gift is purchased, yet no presents are sent to the buyer. Now, a scammer has your credit card information and mailing address.

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