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Fraud During the Holidays

There are many opportunities for criminals to steal your money during the holidays and rest assured there are many out there who are planning their next scheme as we speak. Here are just a few possibilities.

* Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts and it isn’t unusual for people to go door to door looking for “charitable” donations when, in fact, they are there to line their own pockets. Ask for identification and ask for specifics about how the money will be used. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers, don’t give. Help a charity you know and like - and are sure of - instead.

* Remember: we always say if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to internet purchases as well, including purchases on Craigslist and eBay.

* If you are shopping on line, make sure the web site you are shopping on is a legitimate one. When in doubt, shop elsewhere.

* Email is a wonderful tool for all of us, especially criminals. Cyber-criminals often send fake invoices and delivery notices that look like they are from a legitimate business like FedEx , UPS or the Post Office. Banking and credit card scams are also rampant. Criminals try to trick you into divulging your bank account numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other information which will allow them to steal your identity. To confirm authenticity of any of these emails, get a phone number for the company from their official web site and call them for confirmation.

* Holiday e-cards are fun, but beware of clicking on one that comes from someone you don’t know. It could contain malware, spyware or other hidden nastiness.

* Many of us use our credit cards for holiday purchases. Make sure you keep close track of your purchases and check your statements frequently to make sure there are no fraudulent purchases made by someone who has stolen your credit card information.

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