Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Holiday Scams; Protect Yourself!

We truly live in the digital world. Everything has the potential to come faster. We live fast, we shop fast, we eat fast and we can be scammed fast. With the Christmas [shopping] holiday upon us it is a good idea to review some of the most notorious holiday scams and how to prevent them from taking you down.

Fraudulent Charities - Public enemy number one, fake charities are at the top of my list during the holiday season. These scammers will solicit your money through phone calls, email or snail mail. They will attempt to tug at your heart strings in any fashion possible. Never give to a charity that you have any doubts about. If you are looking for a charity to donate money to and you want to verify their legitimacy, try some of these links:
Phishing - If this were not the holidays, this would be at the top of the list. So at this giving time of year, it is second from the top. Phishing is the practice of defrauding an individual or company of financial information by posing as a legitimate company. This practice, much like fraudulent charities, is done through telephone, email, text and snail mail. These scammers will portray themselves as everything from a travel agency giving away "GREAT" deals to the "IRS" demanding back payment from your Christmas bonus. If it sounds too good to be real, then it most likely is not. Be vigilant and think before you respond. Do not open emails from unknown persons or suspicious looking email from friends or colleagues.

Name A Star - Okay, I admit, I purchased a star for my wife many moons ago. I thought it was legitimate but now we have a fancy certificate a guide to her part of the universe and someone has my $49.99. So here is the truth; the International Astronomical Union is the only organization that names stars and they will not sell you the right to do so yourself. However, if you want a nice certificate, call me (wink..)

Online Shopping - This is a difficult one to convey because we all love the convenience of shopping online and not dealing with the mobs in the malls. However, there is a rise in cyber crime so bad that legitimate websites are being "skimmed" so that they can capture your credit card information. In most cases, the websites do not know. Malware is being delivered in ads displayed on your favorite shopping sites. Be sure that you use additional verification steps, if possible, on all the websites that you use for shopping or otherwise to be sure that you are on the actual legitimate website. Using sites like PayPal adds extra protection by making sure that your transaction is secure.

The holidays are a time for celebration, family and joyfulness. Take some extra precautions to keep yourself from getting snowbound by malicious thieves.

No comments:

Post a Comment