3 scams to watch out for this winter
The final months of the year bring a flurry of holidays, excitement and fun. But there are those who look at the merriment and bustle as an opportunity to take advantage of well-intended folks. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift or just passing a quiet day at home, keep an eye out for pervasive scams that look to sap the fun from the season.
Unfortunately, scams change from year-to-year, but it’s possible to collect the warning signs and most common approaches from recent years. In general, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to stay vigilant and opt out of any purchases that don’t feel quite right. We’ve collected details about some of the most common scams to help you fight back.
So, buyer beware if:
It looks too good to be true...
Recent years have seen an explosion of fake retail websites crop up with difficult-to-find gifts at unbelievable prices. These sites are doubly malicious as they’ll not only take your money and never fulfill your purchase, but may also collect your credit card information and attempt to use it. This particular type of scam is pervasive enough that the FBI included a word of warning against them in a “‘Tis the Season for Holiday Scams” press release. We trust the pros on this one. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It’s charitable, but not verifiable...
A great number of scammers attempt to prey on the generous spirit of the holiday season by collecting for causes that don’t exist or posing as volunteers for established causes, but in reality, pocketing the donations. These types of scams can be operated in shopping malls or even by door-to-door visits. If you’re uncertain, skip the middleman and donate directly to the cause. Genuine volunteers won’t pressure you to donate directly to them rather than an organization’s website. Similarly, real charities won’t mind if you say you want to learn more before donating.
Your missed parcel doesn’t seem on the level...
The holidays tend to bring any number of packages to our doorsteps. Some enterprising scammers have used fake missed parcel slips to make money or steal information from unsuspecting victims. These fake parcel slips appear quite real and generally feature a phone number to call to “retrieve package pick-up information.” Unfortunately, those calls tend to route to premium lines, where callers will be put on extensive hold while massive charges rack up on the phone line or to “representatives” who will ask questions about personal information, either as part of a phishing attempt or to attempt to establish when a home will be unoccupied. If you receive a slip from an unfamiliar carrier, do your research first and keep your information close.
We hope this will help you stay safe and alert this holiday season.
Visit our website for more financial resources or get in touch with us to learn how Holiday Retirement can help you make the most of the holiday season, and beyond.