‘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”
Boss’s Day or also known as National Boss Day is an occasion commonly celebrated in a growing number of countries like the United States, Canada and Romania. This day, celebrated on October 16th was created in 1958 to strengthen the bond between employers and employees. Employees get to show their appreciation to their bosses or supervisors that generally are well deserved.
There are times employees do not understand the hard work and dedication that their superiors put in and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Boss’s Day is a great opportunity to appreciate and be thankful for all the things management have done for their employees.
“A good manager is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.”
– H. S. M. Burns
Here are six great ways that employees could show their appreciation towards their bosses or supervisors on Boss’s Day:
Let’s go back to the basic rule of Giving Gifts 101; making a gift from the heart – baking a cake. Baking a cake does not have to be a tedious solo task. You can get together with the rest of your colleagues and bake a cake together as a team exercise.
Besides adding a personal touch that everyone gets to enjoy, it also cultivates teamwork and simple team bonding. It gives a reason to encourage employee participation and this gives you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues on a personal level. A cake may sound simple but it is the thought and effort that counts.
So nobody is daring enough to bake an edible and tasteful cake. Another way to celebrate Boss’s Day is to get your boss a gift with a personal touch. A simple card signed by the employees is another way to say “We appreciate you”.
Select a card that fits the supervisor’s personality and then hand-write a note containing specific examples of the supervisor’s contributions. Once everyone has had a chance to sign the card, gather a group and deliver it to the boss.
Another way to celebrate Boss’s Day is to give a gift. Gifts are a fine idea especially if they come from a group of employees. Do make sure all your colleagues have got a chance to donate to the gift fund. The more personal the gift is, the better.
Examples of gift ideas include:
Do be cautious about giving overly personal gifts because they could lead to awkward moments, office rumors or other issues you want to avoid.
Even bosses and managers deserve a pat on their backs for a job well done once in a while. Take a break from the desk during a scheduled tea or coffee break and have a simple award ceremony. Have a private team meeting with only your colleagues and no supervisors around and have a vote on which supervisors get what title.
Create a light-hearted trophies or badges for bosses with quirky awards such as:
“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.”
– Agha Hasan Abedi
Get out of the office and have a good time after work with bosses and colleagues. You can organize a night out packed with activities with your boss and the rest of your colleagues. Start with a simple dinner where the rest of your colleagues could also mingle and get to know the other colleagues outside the workplace.
Head somewhere after dinner or even hold a small competition with the bosses or management team over a game of pool or bowling. Heading out together as a team encourages employee engagement in a more relaxed atmosphere and it is also a very good time to bond with colleagues and for them to get to know each other better on a personal level.
Do take note that any event planned should always focus on the supervisor or bosses but it is also a good time for employees to relax, mingle and spend time interacting with each other.
Another one of the fun ways to celebrate Boss’s Day is by have a simple party in the office and get everyone to bring in a dish to share. It may not be considered team work but it creates opportunity for team bonding and employee participation. Get some colleagues to contribute a recollection of amusing or witty events that they encountered with the bosses and end the celebration by asking your boss to give a speech.
Potluck is easy to organize if all your colleagues truly participate. Send an email out with a list of dishes for anyone to bring and do not forget to inform the team the list of ingredients to stay from for those who have allergies.
These are just six fun ways to celebrate Boss’s day. Put your thinking cap on, and I’m sure you’ll come up with many more.
It also is appropriate to offer a “Happy Bosses Day! Thanks for everything you do” greeting as you pass by your supervisor in the hallway. The gesture may be informal but if the sentiment is sincere, your boss will know and appreciate the overture. Even an email is better than no recognition at all. Take the initiative to tell your boss that you appreciate what she does and ask how you might better assist him to get the job done.
However you and your colleagues decide to celebrate Boss’s Day, always remember to have fun and have a great time getting to know your bosses and colleagues better.
Have fun organizing!
Q: Why does my credit union need to know so much about me to grant me a mortgage?
A: Exhaustive research into the financial, personal and credit history of home loan applicants is not unique to credit unions. Every home lender will request similar information for processing the loan.
Why are lenders so nosy?
Actually, they’re not. They’re only trying to satisfy the criteria for a protected mortgage, or a Qualified Mortgage.
In January 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) introduced the Qualified Mortgage (QM), a loan category that protects lenders from being forced to buy back a loan if the borrower defaults. To qualify, the lenders must follow the CFPB’s guidelines when determining a buyer’s eligibility for a mortgage.
Essentially, lenders are protecting themselves through this process. That’s why most lenders will try to make a home loan eligible for a QM whenever possible.
Lenders must be able to prove they followed the CFPB’s ability-to-repay guidelines when granting a mortgage to a homebuyer. The more proof the lender has for the buyer’s reliability, the more protection they have. That’s where all that questioning and document-digging comes into play.
Qualified Mortgage rules
Aside from the strict eligibility criteria, QMs come with the following rules:.
Which documents will my lender ask for?
You will likely need to provide the following documents for your lender:
What kind of personal questions can I expect?
Each of the following questions can substantially affect your financial standing:
While shopping around for a mortgage, whether it’s a QM or otherwise, remember to ask us about our fantastic home loan options. We offer better rates and quicker closings than most banks, along with the personal service and attention you’ve come to love and expect at CSE. Call, click or stop by CSE today to get started!