‘Tis the season for scammers to be especially busy targeting people. Here are some tips on how to avoid holiday scams:
An easy way to earn some extra cash is to sell personal items you no longer want or need. Some people may even find themselves looking for a part-time, work from home job. Be aware of receiving a check for more than the item you’re selling, with instructions to send extra funds back. Once funds are sent, the check is returned as fraudulent and the scammers just made out with cash, leaving you with a loss. Scams for work from home employment are similar. A check is sent with instructions to send funds back via a reputable source (Western Union or MoneyGram).
Know How NOT To Pay
Someone asking you to pay with iTunes cards, gift cards, prepaid VISAs or by sending funds through Western Union or MoneyGram is a red flag. Scammers do this because it is almost impossible to get the funds back once you figure out you’ve been scammed.
Be careful when purchasing gift cards. 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.
Holiday season is the prime time for charities to ask for donations. There may be a higher request for donations due to natural disaster and pandemic relief organizations this year. Donating to a reputable non-profit is the best way to ensure your donation is best used.
Require a Signature for Deliveries
Purchasing items online has become popular and has increased significantly this year, which means it is easier for packages to be stolen. Porch thieves are known to follow delivery trucks through neighborhoods, waiting to nab those packages. When purchasing online, require a signature for delivery or find alternate locations, such as place of work, to have your items shipped to. Do not click links in text messages stating missing packages, this can be a Phishing Scam meant to steal personal information and passwords. Instead, contact your local post office or delivery services to verify the validity of the notification.
What You Can Do
- Account Review - Review statements or Online Banking history for any fraudulent transactions and contact us right away if you suspect something is not right.
- Protect Your Payment Method - Make sure checks and/or ATM/Debit/Credit Cards are always kept in a safe and secure place to prevent theft.
- Online Banking - Fraudsters are evolving and may ask for your Online Banking login information to deposit funds, which is a major red flag for fraud. Do not give out your personal login information to anyone.
Stay alert this holiday season and contact us at 800.856.7328 for assistance if you believe you are a victim of fraud. We love to hear from our members. If this article resonated with you or if you have future ideas for articles, please share your response to this Financial Education article.