It's the most wonderful time of year and also the most dangerous when it comes to scams. As online shopping continues to increase, more and more virtual thieves are on the prowl. The Better Business Bureau urges consumers to watch out for scammers looking to steal your money and private information. Don't let pesky scammers steal your holiday cheer. Here are a few scams you should avoid this season:1. Identity Theft
Identity theft is a regularly occurring problem throughout the year, but becomes even more common during the holidays. We are all caught up in buying gifts that we often do not realize how much personal information we are giving away. Avoid having your identity stolen by:
- Shopping only on your home or other secure wi-fi networks.
- Politely decline if the cashier at a store asks for your zip code, cell phone number, or email address. This is not necessary information to complete a purchase.
Unfortunately, many scammers seek to take advantage of your generosity during the season of giving. Counterfeit charities solicit donations through email, text messages, and phone calls.
- Only donate to vetted charities that you've researched and trust. You can also check Charity Navigator to verify your charity of choice.
- Never give cash donations and ask for a receipt.
You are guaranteed to start receiving more email alerts announcing holiday deals. The email itself may be legitimate, but the links to the websites within these emails may lead to phony websites. Protect yourself by:
- Observing the online security of the website you are visiting whenever you are making a purchase. Make sure the website has an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, and its URL begins with "https."
- Looking for misspellings throughout the email and review the sender's address. Most businesses will send emails from a brand-named address.
- Hovering over links to see where they will take you before clicking.
One of the best things you can do is to during the holiday season and on a regular basis is to check your financial statements and quickly dispute any unusual charges you may find.