As Ever ... Scams
I was about to start this blog by saying that it is a new season for scammers. I think it is time, however, that we come to accept that all seasons are a time for scammers, they just change their message to make it hit a little harder depending upon what else is going on in the world.
This is why more people are hearing from more fake charities this time of year as the scammers try to take advantage of the general goodwill amongst people during this holiday season. Now please don’t take this as a warning as to why you should not be giving any money to charity. Instead, just let it serve as a warning to maybe not donate to that charity you never heard of that contacted you out of nowhere. Instead, give that money to a reputable organization that you trust.
This season also comes with a lot of shopping, with more and more of it happening online every year. For the most part, this is nothing but a wonderful convenience, but a little vigilance can help you out here, too. If you follow a link to a website where you are considering making a purchase, take a moment to look at the address bar and make sure it is legit and that the link did not take you to some site that’s only set up to look like one that is more well known. In addition, if you receive emails and/or texts concerning issues with recent purchases, do not follow those links to address any potential issue. Instead, sign in to your actual account through the actual website and see if there is any actual issue that needs to be addressed. So many of those initial messages are just phishing for your information, opening you up to being further scammed once they have obtained it.
Finally, although not specifically holiday-season related, there seem to be a growing amount of scams perpetrated by people claiming to be from some institution (right on up to the IRS) that is seeking to have a debt settled through the purchase of gift cards. Just know that any legit financial matter will not be handled in this way – gift cards are not really forms of payment. Take a second to wonder why someone would want that instead of a check, and then know you can safely end that correspondence and walk away without having lost any money.
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