‘Tis the season to be jolly! And unfortunately, ‘tis also the season for scammers to go after your hard-earned dollars. Keep your money safe by reading up on the most common scams taking place this time of year and practicing caution.
1. Phishing emails
Always popular, phishing scams get even more prevalent before the holidays. They can take the form of bogus delivery confirmation requests seeking your information or even a personalized letter to your child from “Santa.”
Be extra careful this holiday season when it comes to sharing personal information online or with an unverified requester.
2. Fake charities
Sadly, many scammers will capitalize on the goodwill that flourishes this time of year by asking you to make a donation to a charity that does not actually exist. Verify the authenticity of any charity you’d like to make a contribution to by checking it out on a website like CharityNavigator.org. Also, it’s best to contact a charity on your own instead of following a website or email link.
3. Package theft
It’s holiday time, and those UPS and FedEx trucks are everywhere, dropping off boxes of goodies all over the neighborhood.
Usually, these drop-offs go as planned. Unfortunately, though, some 23 million customers will have their packages stolen from their doorsteps this year.
Don’t be one of them! If possible, and especially when ordering something expensive, arrange for a delivery that requires your signature upon receipt. Otherwise, track your order and know when to look out for it so you can bring it inside as quickly as possible after it’s dropped off.
When sending a gift to someone else via Amazon, consider sending it to an Amazon Locker location instead of to the recipient’s household. There’s no fee for using this service, and this way, your gift is safe.
4. Bogus sites
You might get lucky and find that perfect gift at a super-low price, but don’t believe any ads or websites that are practically giving away the good stuff for free. These are, quite likely, scams. Once you click an ad link and place an order, you’ll never hear from the site again. Worse yet, they may use the information you shared to empty your accounts.
Only shop on reputable sites. Remember to check the website address/URL before placing an order. It may look strikingly similar to a popular site, but if one letter is off or missing completely, the site is bogus and you need to get out. Also, always look for that important “s” after the “http” in the web address to verify a site’s security.
5. Fake freebies
Did you really just see a Facebook post offering you a new iPhone, completely free of charge? If you have, run the other way and don’t look back! You’re looking at a scam, designed to lure you into sharing your information with criminals or unwittingly installing malware on your device.
Fake freebies run the gamut from new phones, complementary cruises and various luxury gift items to free holiday-themed downloads, like music, wallpaper and games.
If you’re offered any outrageous free gifts by text message, email or social media posts, ignore them. Downloads, though, may be safe, but need to be carefully vetted for authenticity before you accept them.
6. Defunct gift cards
Many scammers sell expired or empty gift cards this time of year, hoping to make a profit on a card that isn’t worth more than the plastic used to make it.
Ask to inspect any gift card you purchase before you finalize the sale. Check to see if the activation code is exposed. If it is, the scammer has probably already used the card or has copied the information and will use it soon.
7. Temporary holiday jobs
Lots of businesses are hiring extra hands to get them through the busy holiday season. Don’t get stuck working for criminals!
Many scammers will pose as employees of recognized businesses and post help-wanted ads on social media platforms and popular websites. When a job seeker follows the links in these ads, they are directed to a bogus site that looks just like the site of the company the scammer claims to represent. They’ll be asked to share personal information to submit an application. The scammer will then make off with this information and the promised job will never materialize.
If you’re looking for a seasonal job, apply in-person or directly on a business’s website. Do not follow any links.
As always, be aware and be cautious when enjoying the holiday season. Don’t get grinched! Stay alert and use caution to keep your money – and your information – safe.
Your Turn: Have you been targeted by these or any other seasonal scams? Tell us all about it in the comments.
ENTER TO WIN!
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND
CSE Federal Credit Union proudly celebrates 75 years of service to Southwest Louisiana (SWLA). Over the past 75 years, many things have changed, but one thing that has remained is the consistency and value of our service to members and to our community.
Thanks to 11 visionary subscribers who started the credit union in 1943, CSE can proudly celebrate our 75th anniversary as a viable, member-oriented credit union that is now the largest headquartered right here in Southwest Louisiana.
During the month of December we invite our members to visit one of our 3 locations and register to win a diamond necklace valued up to $1,250.00.
As we celebrate the year of our diamond anniversary, CSE will continue to shine brightly as it has for the last 75 years. Watch for more giveaways through 2019.
224 West Prien Lake Road Local: (337) 477-7105
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Monday – Friday: 9:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 5:00pm
For over 26 years, Diamond Durrell’s has been one of the most trusted names in jewelry in the Lake Charles region. We are a well-established jewelry store that has grown with our community from a small store to a multiple brand jewelry retailer. We have served generations of families as their trusted jeweler for brilliant diamonds, beautiful fine jewelry, elegant watches, and treasured gifts, custom made styles and expert jewelry repairs. Diamond Durrell’s is committed to make every customer “feel at home” with our personalized service and our classic to cutting edge jewelry designs. Our years of experience and services have built a legacy of integrity and trust with our customers. We have a fabulous collection of classic to contemporary jewelry designs and unique styles that nurture your emotions and enhance the joy of gift giving and receiving.
At Diamond Durrell’s our mission has always been a tradition of trust, high ethical standards, knowledge of our jewelry products and services, fair pricing and value to our customers.
“SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND GIVEAWAY”
Selling your car? Clear your personal data first.
August 27, 2018
by Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Is a new car in your future? You might first have some unfinished business with your old one. While you’re cleaning out your personal items, think about the personal information stored in the car’s electronic system.
Your car is a computer that stores a lot of information about you — just like your smartphone or home computer. When you sell or donate your car, that personal data might be accessible to the next owner if you don’t take steps to remove it.
Some cars have a factory reset option that will return the settings and data to their original state. But even after a factory reset, you may still have work to do. For example, your old car may still be connected to subscription services like satellite radio, mobile wi-fi hotspots, and data services. You need to cancel these services or have them transferred to your new vehicle.
Here are types of data you want to remove from the electronic system before selling or donating your car:
Besides the information stored on your vehicle, check to make sure you’ve cleared connections between your devices and the car as well. For example, car manufacturers may provide an app that lets you control the car’s functions or find the car — you should disconnect the app from the car when you sell it or trade it in.
For more information about resetting and removing your information, check your owner’s manual, contact your dealer, and visit your vehicle manufacturer’s website.