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Avoiding Holiday Shopping Scams

by Matilda Charles

It’s that time of year again when we do holiday shopping, much of it online. It’s also the time when more scammers come out.
What is it scammers want most? They want your personal information so they can turn it into cash and fraudulent purchases.
Here are a few ways to avoid getting scammed online this holiday season:

Beware of sales e-mails that include links, even if the e-mail is from a store you usually use. Thieves are very good at making their scam pages look genuine. Instead of clicking a link, open a web browser and go directly to the website itself. Sometimes the e-mail will request that you update your account information. Instead, call the store and ask if they’ve sent out that request.

Beware the tracking e-mails you get with updates about packages that you’re expecting. Remember that genuine FedEx and UPS e-mails won’t ask for any personal info. Don’t click links. Go directly to the website.

Be careful where you shop online. Check reviews to see what others have to say. Avoid websites with few or low ratings.
If you are scammed, report it. Call your bank and the police, and then notify the Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-372-8311.

A goal for 2023: Go inside your bank to do your transaction now and then. Yes, it’s easier to just use the drive-up window for deposits and cash withdrawals, but there is a lot to be said for letting them put a face to a name. Once they know you and your banking habits, they’re more able to quickly identify anything that might be wrong.