How to Avoid Fraud During the Holidays

How to Avoid Fraud During the Holidays

The holiday season is supposed to be joyous and full of cheer, but it can hit you like a ton of dead fish if you get caught in a nasty scam or identity theft. It used to be that the type of crime we had to contend with at this time of year was pick-pocketing, purse-snatching and break-ins. Now we are forced to ward off threats to our security over the phone, on the Internet and in our trash cans. No need to worry, however if you are vigilant and take the necessary precautions

Fake Charity Scams

It is to be expected that the holiday season is a time when charities and non-profit organizations will reach out to the community to provide much-needed items and food for the people they service. It’s also when you need to be the most alert for scammers contacting you over the phone, sending you emails or showing up at the door with phony information and strongly emotional stories soliciting for donations FYI, reputable organizations may hire a fundraising company to do the job or they send snail mail. . If you feel inclined to give but have even the slightest doubt, take some time to check out to determine the legitimacy of the organization. Better yet choose the charities you prefer ahead of time and give to them. That way when you are contacted unexpectedly you already know what to say!

Identity Theft

This is a big one. Millions of Americans become victims to identity theft every holiday season and it is horribly invasive. The worst thing about it is the shock that rushes from your toes to the top of your head when you suddenly discover that a stranger has been using your credit card or banking information to make purchases that are not your. Be very cautious about what you are throwing away in the trash. Bank account and credit card statements reveal enough information about you that a scammer can use it for their own malicious purpose.

Phishing

This is something that happens throughout the year, but it is a sensitive issue during the holidays. You will get a bogus email from someone posing as a financial institution or service you use saying something like your account information needs to be updated and if you don’t do it right away you account may be suspended, right when you are in the middle of your Christmas shopping. If you get an email from anyone asking you for this type of data and you are required to login with your password, don’t do it. As a matter of fact, forward the email to the security department for the company they are impostering. Don’t send money for anything that has come to you through your email unless you verify it first.

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