It’s that time of year again! We’re all decked out and wrapped up for some holiday cheer when scam artists come out to prey on the generosity of good-hearted people who are just trying to be in the holiday mood. Fake charities, malicious websites, and phishing emails are all part of their repertoire.
Here are a few examples to watch out for:
Fake Charities: We like to help those in need and we shouldn’t stop just because grinches are out there trying to bring us down! Consider giving to charities you are personally familiar with or that benefit your local communities. Do some homework before you give to charities you have never heard about. The Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar can help guide your giving.
Delivery Scams: Be skeptical if you receive a text or an email about difficulty delivering a package. Many of those messages are phishing attempts that lead to websites that steal your credentials or try to install malicious software on your devices. Keep an eye out for common scams with the BBB Scam Tracker.
Safe Shopping: Many scams are crafted to steal your money or credit card information. How can you shop safely?
- Buy from only reputable, online sites.
- Don’t click on enticing shopping links you receive in emails, especially if urgent action is required or if the price seems too good to be true (because it probably is).
- Use credit cards, which often come with more consumer protections, rather than debit cards.
- Never give your Social Security or driver’s license numbers to buy goods or services. If you feel like an agent is asking for too much information, go with your gut and stop the sale.
- Shop local! Be it a big-box store or the boutique on the corner, it’s safer to shop in person. Besides, local, brick-and-mortar small businesses rely on our business.
If you think you or someone you know might have been scammed or contacted by a scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.
For more information: