‘Tis the season for giving… and scams


The holidays are all about the spirit of giving, like helping others who may be less fortunate. Unfortunately, the holidays are a prime time when scammers try to take advantage of your goodwill and kindness.

Charity scams

Many scammers know that you’re feeling more generous during this time of year. You may trust everyone you meet and trust they have good intentions with the money you’re going to donate. Scammers bet on this philosophy. Don’t let them trick you into giving to a charity that isn’t reputable.

Do your research and make sure you’re giving to a reputable cause. Go to GuideStar.org, CharityNavigator.org, or Give.org to look up the non-profit organization. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right.

Package theft

Simply Money Advisors’ research has found that 23 million Americans have had a package stolen at one point in time. With the increasing number of package deliveries over the holidays, it’s easy for ‘porch pirates’ to steal from your doorstep.

Make friends with your neighbors and ask if they’ll kindly grab your packages when they see them. You could also have your packages sent to your place of work if your employer approves.

Data breaches 

What retailer hasn’t had a data breach yet? You hear news of a new data breach almost every day. As a society, we’ve become numb to identity theft and think it’s as common as getting a cold.

If you’re concerned about your information getting stolen, try using cash during the holidays. If you must pay with plastic, use your credit card and not your debit card – you don’t want thieves to have direct access to your checking account. Also, credit cards have more protection in case of fraud.

Suspicious links

Don’t you love Christmas cards? Your inbox is probably full of e-versions of them. Scammers recognize that you’re anticipating the arrival of such cards and are more likely to open their emails.

Scammers will riddle these holiday emails with malicious links, resulting in an attack on your device. A popular method is to send you fake shipping notifications or a package delivery problem.

Don’t fall for these tricks. Use the tracking code the retailer sends you and check directly with the shipping service to ensure there is not a delivery problem.

Free gift offers

Websites sometimes offer you a free gift or send you a letter in the mail requesting to exchange your personal information for $500.

Believe it or not, these companies don’t want to give you free money. They’re looking to steal your information. To better protect yourself, don’t click on these offers. Assume the only people trying to give you gifts are the people closest to you.

The Simply Money Point

It’s important to be a little more on alert during the holiday season. You would hope that people have the best intentions, but this may not always be the case.