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Beware of Holiday Scams

Beware of Holiday Scams

‘Tis the season of gift giving. For many people, this includes purchasing the perfect gift for friends and family, and making charitable donations. Unfortunately, criminals understand that the happiest time of the year is also the time people are spending the most money on shopping, and are also at their most distracted. It is important to know what to look out for in order to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.


Holiday Charity Scams

While there is nothing better than giving back, it is important to be cautious before you donate any money or give away any important information.

To avoid becoming the victim of a charity scam:

  • Only donate to a charity you trust or a well-known charity. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of an institution, do your research before acting. Make sure to check the charity’s official website, or check with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Verify phone numbers for charities. If you need to call or text-to-donate, check the official website for the charity and make sure it is a legitimate phone number.
  • Scammers often can spoof the number of a charity and try to trick you into giving them sensitive information. If you are not anticipating a call from anyone, it is best to either hang the phone up immediately, or not answer the phone at all to a number you don’t know.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails. If you receive an unsolicited email asking you to donate to a charity, immediately delete it. Do not open the email and click on any of the links or open any attachments. Scammers often use email for phishing attacks and to spread malware.

Christmas Phishing Scams

Common Christmas phishing scams are usually in the form of offers that seem too-good-to-be-true. If you receive an email claiming to be a company offering you free gift cards, or an extremely good deal on a hot gift item, it is important to immediately delete it before acting. These emails want you to click on a link or attachment, which may put your personal information at risk.

If you suspect a phishing email:

  • Check the actual sender address on every email you receive. If the address doesn’t match with the senders name or the company they claim to represent, delete the email. 
  • Hover (don’t click) over every link and attachment in the email to make sure the destination is a legitimate website.

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