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Shopper Beware

14 Dec

Any place thee is money – there will people there trying to steal it. Recently ran into two scams, one being based on the old Nigerian, “there is money left in your name, just send us money to get it to you” ruse, a second by a Internet employment board requesting $40 a month to access nonexistent executive level jobs. Most real companies have a Jobs board on their website. If they do not it is a red flag that something isn’t quite right. If the job isn’t listed on a company website, and is listed on an online one requiring you to pay membership fees…It 90% of the time is a scam. The most effective scams are based around playing on the victim’s greed and avarice.

Any website, that isn’t the US Government IRS or Social Security that asks you online for your SSN, or credit card number online…Is a Scam. Period.

In general – if it sounds to good to be true..It’s a scam.

Here’s a list of 12 scams from the Better Business Bureau and law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for as you hit the malls or shop online.

Fake shipping notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam.

E-cards: Electronic holiday cards can be used to steal your data. Two red flags to watch out for are: the sender’s name is not apparent; you are required to share additional information to get the card.

Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are legitimate.

Temporary holiday jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays, but beware of offers that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is hiring.

Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone. Use a credit card on a secure website; look for https in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and the lock symbol.

Social media gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal; buy one gift and get 36 in return. But it’s aa variation on a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal, says the BBB.

Deceptive Advertising — Just like fake websites, fake apps are built at this time of year to target people who prefer shopping from their phones. Be especially wary of phone shopping apps; even those marked with an Amazon or Ebay logo could be fake. And, dangerous links, phony contests on social media, and bogus gift cards allow scammers to steal your personal information, says McAfee.com. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words.

Bogus Charities — The holidays prompt us to donate to charities, but scam artists take advantage of this by sending emails for fake charities or sharing viral promos. Before donating, do your homework. Groups such as the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch and even the Internal Revenue Service have tips to safely donate to charities.

Promotional Emails —The International Business Times says to treat all promotional emails that aren’t coming from a trusted retailer as dangerous material. Even if you open the email, do not click on any links inside.

Gift Card Scams — The popular gifts can be an opportunity for thieves, who copy the numbers off cards in a store, then check online or call the 1-800 number to see if the card is activated. Once a card is active, the thieves spend its contents online, and the rightful card holder has no money, says the Better Business Bureau. And never buy discounted gift cards sold online; scammers will keep your cash, and use the gift cards.

Use a Credit Card — Using a credit card is safer than swiping your debit card when shopping. Credit cards have more security features than debit cards and credit companies are more willing to replace your stolen money than most banks, according to IBT.

Package Theft — The internet is full of videos of thieves stealing packages left by delivery services on doorsteps. Police believe the criminals follow delivery trucks into neighborhoods, say Annapolis Police. To thwart thieves, require a signature for all packages. If nobody will be home to accept a delivery, have the package held at the nearest service location for you to pick it up.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in American Greed

 

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