For many of us, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. From binge-watching our favorite holiday movies while decking the tree, to visiting our favorite trail of lights and sipping delicious hot chocolate, the season can be both magical and exhausting. And when it comes to shopping, whether we’re buying the perfect gift for a loved one or find it too difficult to pass on a remarkable cyber deal, it’s important to look out for scams designed to steal your personal information and money.
This year, National Bank & Trust wants you to enjoy a scam-free holiday and remain watchful against the following schemes.
Gift Card Scams – If someone is asking you to pay for something with a gift card, even if they provide lots of excuses to make it sound legitimate, you’re most likely getting scammed. No reputable business will require payment via gift card, they will accept all forms of payment. Gift cards are also popular among scammers because they are easy to cash in or sell them online and are virtually untraceable.
Insurance/Warranty Scams – Insurance and warranty scams have been around for years and usually happen via a phone call with some sort of pitch for you to renew your warranty or policy – even if you don’t currently have warranty coverage. Fraudsters are hoping to get your personal information, which can be used to defraud you.
Online Shopping Scams – If the offer is too-good-to-be-true, then it probably is! You should steer clear of ads offering items at unrealistic discounts or on untrustworthy sites. Victims pay for items, give away personal information and credit card details, then receive nothing in return except a stolen identity. Buy from a known source or someone you can meet in person. No sale is worth compromising your personal safety – be sure to do your research, meet in a public place and trust your gut.
Charity Scams – There is something about the holiday season that puts people in a charitable mood. 2020 has been extra difficult for many people, and with that, comes scammers who pose as charities or misuse a charity’s name to appeal for donations. Make sure to do your research and check with Charity Navigator, the largest and most-utilized charity evaluator in America, before you give online or over the phone.
The FBI has shared the following steps to help you avoid holiday fraud schemes:
If you do become the victim of a holiday scam, contact your bank immediately. You should also inform your local law enforcement agency and file a complaint with the IC3 at ic3.gov.
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