Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Add These Tips to Your List

Posted on 12/13/18 by Alisa Jackson

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It's that time of year where Grinches are looking for ways to hijack your holiday joy! Be sure to use these tips (one or all) to help ensure a festive holiday season!

Package delivery scams

Thieves send fake e-mails from delivery services about a package being held pending delivery. The e-mail directs you to click on a link that asks for your credit card or other personal information. Closely review the e-mail – check the sender information, look for misspellings, and hover over the link with your mouse to see if it is really taking you to the delivery service’s website. Also – request signatures for deliveries to stop thieves from stealing packages from doorsteps.

“Too-good-to-be-true” online deals

Online ads, e-mails, social media posts – even from people you “know,” of impossibly good online deals could be scams. You might get nothing for your money or an inferior item, and your credit card number could be compromised during the transaction. A too-good-to-be-true deal should send up a red flag.

Public Wi-Fi risks

Making purchases online while on public Wi-Fi is dangerous. Only shop on public Wi-Fi if you have a “Virtual Private Network” on your device and it is turned on. When you do shop online, stick with credit cards. You are liable for only up to $50 of fraudulent use, but your financial loss with a stolen debit card could be much higher.

Gift cards scams

Thieves can hit store gift card racks, scan the numbers off the cards, then check online or call the toll-free number to see if someone has bought and activated the cards. As soon as a card is active, the scammers drain the funds. By the time your gift recipient tries to use the card, the money is long gone. Safely purchase gift cards directly from the store clerk or buy them online.

Charity scams

Legitimate charities make a big push at year-end for last minute annual donations. Scammers know this, and make their own end-of-year push to line their own pockets. Check the charity before donating at charitynavigator.org or give.org, and make sure your donation is going to the charities that really are using your money for good.

Romance scams

A perennial scam, the romance scam heats up around the holidays. Watch for people you meet on dating sites who quickly want to take your conversation offline, who may resist talking on the phone, who say they are abroad and can’t meet you in person, and eventually ask for money – to buy a plane ticket to come see you, or to help with a business venture, for example. Online dating can be fun and exciting – but beware of those who have money, and not love, on their minds.

Happy Holidays! For more information, please visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

 

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