Keeping Your Money Safe: How to Avoid Holiday Scams

Here is how you can keep your money safe this holiday season

The holidays are a merry time for scammers. They take advantage of busy stores and shoppers to fund their own shopping sprees. Here are some common rip-offs and how you can protect yourself.

Fake Websites Touting Great Deals:
If you get emails promising the deal of the century, approach with caution. These emails have links to fake websites that look real. Scammers use your credit card information to make purchases?and you don?t get the deal you ordered.

What to do: Position your mouse over the URL in the email so you can see the link. If it is unfamiliar, do not bother to click. However, if you really want to buy, check the business?s legitimacy through Google. Keep an eye on bank statements as well.

Gift Card Scams:
Scammers copy numbers off gift cards and scratch off the security codes if necessary. Later, they call the toll-free number or go online to see if someone has activated the cards. If someone has, the scammers use the cards to make purchases.

What to do: Look at gift cards before you buy them to check that they have not been messed with. Ensure the security or activation code is intact. Even better, buy only the gift cards that are stored behind counters. In every case, keep your receipt. It may land you a replacement if your original gift card has already been used.

Lies That Your Data Has Been Stolen:

If you get a call purporting to be from a retailer claiming your data has been breached, end the call. These callers are scammers who want you to give out your data. When real breaches happen, stores send letters and post information online. They usually do not call customers.

What to do: Go to the retailer?s website and find its contact information. Call and report the fraud. Because you started the call, it is fine to give your account number and other contact information to the fraud department.

For more help identifying scam websites, refer to our earlier post.