The busy holiday season is just around the corner. This is also one of the busiest times of the year for scammers to target people, knowing that they are shopping or looking to make some extra cash. Here are some tips on how you can avoid holiday scams.
Know how NOT to pay: Do not pay someone who is requesting payment with iTunes cards, gift cards or by sending funds through Western Union or MoneyGram. Scammers often request this method of payment because it is almost impossible to get the funds back once you figure out it was a scam.
Craigslist Scams: Many people look to earn extra holiday cash by selling items or look for part time work online. Use extreme caution if you are receiving a check for more than the item you’re selling, with instructions to send extra funds back. These checks are almost always fraudulent. When a check is returned, you are liable for it. Scams for secret shopper employment are similar. A check is sent and then instructions to send funds back via a reputable source (Western Union or MoneyGram), while evaluating the service. Again, funds are sent back to the scammers and you are left with the responsibility for the returned check.
Gift Cards: It’s a best practice to buy gift cards from the stores they are from. Cards purchased from gift racks at various retailers are not as safe from hackers or thieves. Always check to make sure the protective scratch-off is still intact so that a scammer is not waiting to drain the funds after activation. Report any gift cards missing the protective scratch-off to store employees immediately.
Charity Donations: ‘Tis the season to donate and it’s also a prime time for charities to ask for donations. Make sure to validate the legitimacy of the charity and the website (if making an online donation) before making any kind of contribution. We may see more requests for donations to natural disaster relief organizations this year and verifying the organization and asking questions about what your donation goes towards is highly recommended.
Require a signature for deliveries: Purchasing items online has become popular over the past couple years, which means it is easier for packages to get stolen. When purchasing online, require a signature for delivery or find alternate locations, such as your work, to have your items shipped to.
Always ensure your checks, ATM/Debit/Credit Cards, and financial documents are in a secure location to avoid fraud on your account. If you see anything suspicious, contact Rogue Credit Union for assistance or questions.
From the friendly team at Rogue Credit Union, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!