Tips To Avoid Holiday Scams

‘Tis the season to be wary of deals that are too good to be true, emails that want to know too much about you, and fake charities that want your money too.

While the holidays are a great time for giving, crooks target them for taking - whether it’s your personal information or your money.

Here are some tips for avoiding common holiday scams:

Beware of online deals that seem too good to be true.

If little-known sites are showing prices far below normal or if they claim to have popular products that major retails can’t keep in stock, think twice before ordering – you could lose your money. This kind of scam tries to take advantage of your desire for a great deal.

Be cautious. You’ll be safer paying more at a business you trust and has a good reputation.

Don’t get stung by email scams.

These come wrapped in many ways.

Some impersonate your financial institution and ask for personal or account information. And others pretend to be shipping companies, telling you they need personal information or money before a gift can be delivered. Others try to get you to download ‘free’ holiday software or to click for a special greeting.

Most are fake and are trying to steal personal information, account numbers, or infect your computer with malware. Never click on links or download files from these unsolicited emails. If you suspect one might be real, it’s always best to search for the business’ official web address or call their official phone number to see if it is legitimate.

Don’t give blindly by falling for charity scams during this time of goodwill. Instead of responding to charity emails or someone calling and claiming to represent a charity, find a way to donate directly to the charity of your choice. And always check to make sure a charity is legitimate before giving.

Be alert.

While you should regularly check your debit and credit card online accounts or statements for irregularities, it’s especially important to inspect them for unexpected purchases during the holidays. Report any problems immediately.

And also keep in mind that it’s safer to pay with credit or debit cards instead of cash because cards provide you with consumer protections against fraud and other problems.

So be careful. And don’t let a scam spoil a great holiday.