Avoiding the Latest Holiday Scams
- Seasonal Jobs – There are many out there that are preying on those who need work. The most common type of this particular scam are the work-at-home type jobs. If you are asked to pay a fee up front and provide your social security number, this should be a red flag as a potential identity theft scheme.
- Charities - Verify that a charity is legitimate by contacting:
- Colorado Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.co.us. You will find their charities database under their "Licensing Center". For those without web access, you may also call them at (303) 894-2200, Ext. 6409.
- Charity Navigator website at www.charitynavigator.org. For those without web access, you may also call them at (201) 818-1288.
- Vacation – Scam artists are now online advertising properties for vacation rentals which don’t exist by posting a fake photo of property that they are pretending to own. Do your research to make sure that the property exists and that the person posting is the actual owner. Don’t ever wire money. These kind of purchases are better handled with a credit card in which you can dispute the charges if need be.
- Counterfeit Merchandise - Beware of people approaching you in parking lots to sell you these types of items. Although they may be a great money saver that you’re looking for, some work in pairs to distract you so that they can steal your wallet. Keep alert in this situation. No deal is ever worth your safety.
- Gift Card Scams – Gift cards are the easiest gift to give, but they are also an easy avenue for scammers to steal from you. The theft is done by the scammer writing down the exposed serial number on the card and checking to see when the card has been activated. As soon as they see this, they use the money that was preloaded on the card. Examine cards for any tampering. The PIN should still be completely covered. Ask for cards that are stored behind a counter. Spend the cards quickly so as not to give the scammer time to access it.
- Email/Phishing Scam – You receive an e-mail from what appears to be a legitimate financial institution telling you that your account has been compromised and you must log on immediately. They provide you a link to access. This link actually takes you to a copycat website that steals your username and password. If you question an email as to whether it is from your bank or credit card company, call the number on the back of your credit card or check a billing statement for a website. Never click a link provided to you in an email.
- Mystery Shopping – You’re asked to evaluate a wire transferring service. You are then provided with a check to deposit into your account and then told to withdraw a portion of it, keeping the rest for yourself as a bonus. You’re instructed to wire the withdrawn money to another person who may be located in another state, or even another country. When you provide the tracking number to the company, the money is picked up somewhere else, leaving you with the responsibility of replacing the money in your now overdrawn account because the check you deposited will more than likely a made up check or a check written on a stolen account.
IDENTIFY A SCAM BEFORE A SCAM IDENTIFIES YOU!