Top Tips for Avoiding Scams During the Holidays

Photo of a person shopping on a computer

‘Tis the season to be extra vigilant against scammers! Whether you’re online shopping, donating to a charity or getting calls from relatives, scammers are lurking and it’s even more important to be careful and watch out for your loved ones.

There are many types of scams: identity theft, unwanted calls, imposter scams, health care scams, “you’ve won” scams, home repair scams, money mule scams, work-at-home scams and charity fraud.1

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) released the top 12 scams of Christmas that are most likely to catch consumers and donors off guard during this holiday season.2

1. Misleading social media ads
2. Social media gift exchanges
3. Holidays apps
4. Alerts about compromised accounts
5. Free gift cards
6. Temporary holiday jobs
7. Look-alike websites
8. Fake charities
9. Fake shipping notifications
10. Pop-up holiday virtual events
11. Top holiday wishlist items
12. Puppy scams

So how do you avoid getting scammed?

  • Keep an eye on your bank account. Make sure all charges are ones that you have made. Call your credit union if you don’t recognize a charge.
  • If you’re shopping online, pay by credit card. All credit cards provide protection against fraud.
  • Don’t pay for things with gift cards, unless it’s for the store it’s intended for. Scammers will ask you to pay for things with gift cards, legitimate companies will not.
  • Research charities before you donate. Read the Federal Trade Commission’s guide before you donate, including organizations that help you research charities legitimacy.
  • Keep track of purchases. We make many purchases this time of year, especially when sales hit. Make sure to keep track of what you purchase and confirm when it is delivered to make sure you get what you paid for.
  • Give gifts, not personal information. Protect yourself online by shopping only on secure websites with an “https” address. Stick to shopping apps that tell you what they do with your data and how they keep it secure.

The Federal Trade Commission has great resources and tips for how to identity and avoid scams. You can subscribe to the FTC blog to get the most current scam information and what to watch out for.3

Don’t forget to pass on the information to help your friends and loved ones.

Be smart, stay informed and have a happy and safe holiday!