Friends, family, and co-workers, Tis the season for scammers and we want to make sure you are protecting yourself. The FCC collected of 1.4 million fraud reports in 2018 and that number looks to rise in 2020. To make sure you are protecting yourself this holiday season, we’ve set up a list of 5 ways to protect yourself against holiday scammers.
Protect Your Gift Cards/Credit Cards
During this time of year many of us will receive gift cards as presents. Pay close attention when you using your gift cards at restaurants or with retailers. Make sure you check the balance after each purchase and keep/throw away your own gift card once account balance hits zero. It has been reported that many cashiers or customer representatives are voiding sales and keeping your gift cards to use for themselves. Also, make sure to cut up your gift cards after utilizing them (unless you want to load them up and use them again) because active scammers will look for your cards in trash cans and on the street. They make duplicates so they can use or resale them.
Watch Your Back At The ATM
During the holiday season DO NOT take out cash at a gas station or your convenience store ATM’s. Many scammers are putting skimmers at ATM’s, which allows them to copy all of your credit card and bank information to make duplicate credit cards and fraudulent purchases to your account. If you need to take money out of any ATM, please head to your local bank.
Be Careful Of Third Party Financial Apps/Transactions
Many of us are making purchases with Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Paypal for the holidays. Utilizing these payment methods have become so accommodating, especially for those of us who are on the go. With the convenience and the information these apps hold, many hackers are creating fake third party apps that look identical to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Paypal. To ensure you are not being hacked when purchasing from these apps, make sure when you receive your mobile receipt it has “https://” link to the Url or web code.
Watch Out For Fake Sob Stories In Your Inbox
Every scammer has a hustle. Some take your social media or email inbox to sell you a tragedy in order to get your bank card information or a wire transfer. Anyone asking for a wire transfer through your social media or email is likely a scammer. Only send money to people you know in the physical. The catfish world is real and it will only get worse during the holiday season when folks are looking to give back.
Being charitable during the Holiday season seems as if it’s the right thing to do. Be careful because many scammers are looking at this as their biggest come-up. If you receive calls from charities or are making a donation to charities that want to do wire transfers, gift cards or prepaid cash cards, they likely are scamming you, so be alert!
Words by: Kinyana Mccoy
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