Be vigilant, especially during the holiday season
As we enter the holiday season, it pays to be vigilant to avoid scams that could put a damper on your celebrations. Here are some ways to keep your holidays happy.
Keep the debit card in your wallet. Consumer protection experts recommend the use of credit cards rather than debit cards to protect from fraud and theft. With credit cards, you are liable for only up to $50 of fraudulent use.
Buying gift cards? Consider this. Thieves can hit store gift card racks, secretly write down or scan the numbers off the cards, then check online or call the toll-free number to see if someone has bought the cards and activated them. As soon as the cards are active, the scammers drain the funds. By the time your gift recipient tries to use the card, the money is long gone. Safely purchase gift cards directly from the store clerk.
Sign for those package deliveries. Package delivery companies are not responsible for stolen packages left at your front door without requiring a delivery signature. And watch out for email phishing scams claiming to be from UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service. Clicking those links could lead you to a phony sign-in page asking for your personal information.
Be wary of those too-good-to-be-true deals, especially those that show up as links on your social media feeds. Go directly to the retailer’s website rather than clicking on a link.
Is that really a holiday e-card? Fake e-cards can carry malicious software. Clues of a fake card include not knowing the sender, not being familiar with the e-card company, and misspellings.
For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud.