Beware of holiday scams

As the holidays approach, everyone is looking for a good deal. Use these helpful tips to avoid being scammed and to have a safe holiday experience.

  • Fake charities
    Holidays are a time for giving, but before you do, use sites like the Charity NavigatorBetter Business Bureau to check out a charity or business.
  • Trojan holiday screensavers, ringtones, e-cards, and mobile apps
    They may look or sound great, but scan them for viruses and don’t open them if you don’t know who sent them to you.
  • Phishing scams
    If you receive suspicious email that appears to come from your bank or credit card company and indicates that your credit card has been declined, suspended or cancelled, don’t click on any link in it. Instead, call the bank or credit card company directly. The notice could be a fake or have a virus attached.
  • Holiday travel scams
    Scammers send offers of free or discounted airline tickets in hopes of obtaining your frequent flyer username and password. To see the real deal, go to the airline’s website directly. Also, be leery of “I’m destitute and need money” scams.
  • Social media scams
    Be on the lookout for scams via your Skype, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter accounts.
  • SMishing scams
    Do not reply to a SMS message that states you may have won a gift card and you need to send your bank or credit card information.
  • Fake warnings about end-of-year activities
    Be on the lookout for malicious links in email and attachments about fourth quarter taxes or end-of-year business reports. If the email is from someone you don’t know or if you were not expecting it, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.
  • Home security
    As you travel during the holidays, don’t post on Facebook or Twitter that you’re on vacation or away from your home. Thieves can use this information to target and rob you.
  • Fake receipts, shipping notices and orders
    Your purchase will likely be shipped, but beware of fake notices from UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL like “track your UPS delivery online” and your “Amazon book order has shipped.” Go to the shipper’s website and don’t open email attachments you aren’t expecting.