8 Scams to be Aware of During the Holiday Season
1. “Job Offer” Scams. Many consumers are looking for ways to make some extra money during the holiday season. Unfortunately, fraudsters are taking advantage of those seeking extra work by “mystery shopper scams” where consumers are sent fraudulent cashier’s checks to make purchases for a “company”. Also, be wary of unsolicited job offers. Always confirm employment through official channels.
2. Phishing Scams. Fraudsters are sending out “letters” and “invoices” from companies like Amazon, Best Buy and Apple that are not real. If you receive an unexpected invoice or letter, directly verify the contents with the company. Never grant anyone access to your accounts, personal information or financial information.
3. Pet Scams. Pets are popular gifts for the holidays. However, there are continuous reports of online theft purporting to sell pets. Whether you’re looking to purchase a puppy, kitten or exotic pet, always see the animal in person before purchasing and check the breeder’s credentials, references and reviews.
4. Student Loan Scams. With student loan forgiveness potentially on the horizon, many consumers are eager to take advantage of the government’s forgiveness program. Scammers are looking to take advantage of these initiatives by calling and asking for money or your personal information. Always utilize official channels to avoid any scams.
5. Healthcare Scams. Many insurance companies are going through enrollment periods. Scammers are taking advantage of this by utilizing unsolicited phone calls to obtain your personal information. Always contact your employer or healthcare company directly to avoid being a victim of these scams.
6. Stolen Passwords. Many fraudsters will purchase items through your online shopping account from prior breaches of retailer websites. Change your passwords often, use different and complex passwords with characters, numbers and symbols and utilize multi-factor authentication when possible. Be wary if a company asks you to update your password or account information.
7. Foreign Transactions. Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such deals. Be wary of sellers who post an auction or
advertisement as if they reside in the U.S., then respond to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar reasons. Avoid buyers who request their purchase be
shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.
8. Be Aware! Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The holidays are a time of giving but only from family and friends!
By: Kentucky Bankers Association