Protect Yourself from Holiday Scams
December is a time of family and celebration, but the holiday spirit can also make you more of a target for scams. These scams can take many forms and appear online, at home, and in stores.
An estimated 45% of people plan on doing at least some of their holiday shopping online and every purchase online leaves your card vulnerable. Keep your accounts safe by only using sites you know and trust. Unsure about a website offering a price that's "too good to be true"? Do your research and look for customer testimonials before submitting your card information.
Also, don't click on links in unsolicited emails. They could contain infected attachments or take you to a phishing site, a site made to look like a trusted site that's used to steal your information.
At Home Scams
After making your online purchase, you wait eagerly for your order to arrive. Unfortunately, so do scammers. Packages left on your doorstep are easily stolen and any information contained on the packing slip is also vulnerable. While it may be more inconvenient, you can pick up your packages directly from the FedEx or UPS store. You can also call to request a delivery window or have your orders delivered to work.
The holiday season is a time for giving and some people may try to take advantage of your charitable feelings. Phony charities may call, send letters, or visit your home asking for a donation. Before deciding to contribute, research the charity online on charitynavigator.com or the Better Business Bureau. If you do decide to donate, go to the charity's website rather than giving away payment information over the phone.
In Store Scams
While walking around a crowded store or mall, it's easy to bump into other people without thinking twice. However, this could be the perfect opportunity for someone to steal your wallet or take something out of your shopping bags. Keep your wallet in a closed purse and leave any non-essential cards at home. If you take a break from shopping, store all your purchases in your trunk where they can't be seen from the outside.
When checking out at a store, be aware of your surroundings. Watch for anyone hovering around you while you pay with your credit or debit card. If paying with cash, be aware of being short-changed, whether it's done intentionally or accidentally. Before leaving, make sure all of your items are in your bags.