Avoid these Holiday Scams

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Avoid these Holiday Scams

Avoid these Holiday Scams

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Nothing puts a damper on holiday cheer like having your finances compromised by scams. Between holiday shopping and spending, charitable donations, and travel, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and unknowingly let your guard down as you work to cross things off your list. Unfortunately, fraudsters are eagerly waiting to take advantage of distracted consumers. We urge you to remain vigilant throughout the holiday season so you can protect yourself from holiday scams.

Friendly Fraud

More consumers are turning to online shopping than ever before, particularly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We typically see a spike in online fraud as people begin their holiday shopping for loved ones, but there is a surge in “friendly fraud” anticipated this holiday season. Friendly fraud occurs when a consumer disputes a purchase they made online but don’t recognize, despite it being a legitimate transaction. The projected increase in friendly fraud is due to the pandemic driving more consumers as well as inexperienced merchants to online sales. One of the most important ways to stay safe online and protect your accounts from fraud is to only shop from reputable merchants and sites that you are familiar with. Before you file a dispute for an online purchase that you don’t recognize, review your email for an order verification from the site to confirm whether or not the purchase is legitimate, but perhaps you don’t remember making it amidst the flurry of other online purchases. Merchants experience significant loss through these unfair chargebacks. It’s always best to double check before reporting a transaction as fraud.

Fake Website Scams

Scammers are known to set up fraudulent websites that entice unsuspecting online shoppers with great deals or hard-to-find products. Fraudsters often even go the extra lengths to place ads on social media for their fraudulent sites and products, with the intent to con as many consumers as possible. With the ever-increasing number of sites online, it can be tricky to discern which ones are legitimate and which ones to avoid. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, the best way to avoid online sales fraud is by only shopping from sites you know and trust. And never provide financial account or credit card information to anyone you don’t know. When shopping online, type the website address directly into your browser, rather than clicking a link from an email or advertisement on social media. This way, you can be certain you are shopping on the legitimate site rather than a fraudulent copycat site.

Fake Charity Scams

The holiday season is a time for giving. Make sure your donations are going where you intend. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr recently warned against fraudulent charities, stating “Far too often scam artists exploit the generosity of Georgia citizens by posing as legitimate charities in an effort to commit financial theft.” Scammers will create a fraudulent website posing as a legitimate charity or organization, even copying logos and names to make their website appear legitimate. Always confirm the validity of an organization before giving any money, and never share your financial account or credit card information with anyone, especially via unsolicited phone call, email, text, or social media message. Again, it’s best to go directly to an organization’s website rather than following links from ads, emails, or social media posts – even posts shared by people you know. Before donating to charity, verify whether the organization is legitimate as well as the organization’s policy on sharing donor information so you can ensure your information remains protected. You can review an organization’s donor privacy policy by checking the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. Other resources available to you include Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar.

The safety and security of our members is a top priority. Protecting your information works best when we have your help. Let’s work together to keep your accounts protected. To learn more about how we protect our members every day and how you can protect yourself, review our Security and Fraud information online, and watch our Scams and Fraud playlist on YouTube.

At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.

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