Buying gifts, gift cards and donating online are all common things during the holidays. Whether you're expecting a delivery or looking for romance AARP has some scams to watch out for. AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel spotlighted several scams that gain popularity during the holidays. He also shared more about the work being done by AARP's Fraud Watch Network.
Learn more by visiting AARP's Fraud Watch Network site.
Here are the scams Doug spotlighted today:
Charity scams: Many people will donate to a good cause, or organization during the holidays. Unfortunately, thieves try to take advantage of this. Make sure to check the charity before donating to it on charitynavigator.org, or give.org to verify your money is going to the right place.
Package delivery scams: Sometimes thieves will send out fake e-mails from delivery services saying a package is being held pending delivery. This e-mail will direct you to a link asking for your credit card, or personal information. By checking the spelling, sender information, or hovering over the link with your mouse you can see if it is actually the delivery service's website. To better protect deliveries, request a signature for your package.
"Too-good-to-be-true" online deals: An extremely good deal, even if posted by someone you know can be a scam. You might get nothing for your item and your credit card number could be compromised. These deals should send up a red flag.
Public Wi-Fi risks: Making purchases on public Wi-Fi is dangerous. Only shop on public Wi-Fi if you have a virtual private network on your device. When you do shop online, use your credit card. If compromised you are only liable up to $50 for fraudulent use, your financial loss with a debit card can be much higher.
Gift card scams: Thieves can scan numbers off credit cards and check online, or call the toll-free number to see if it's activated. If it has been activated they will drain all the money on the card. To prevent this safely purchase gift cards directly from the store clerk, or buy them online.
Online dating scams: Talking to someone on a dating site can be fun. However, if they want to quickly take your conversation offline, resist talking on the phone, say they are abroad, can't meet you in person, and eventually ask for money - whether that's a plane ticket, or to help with a business venture - be extremely cautious before sending money. They probably don't have your best interests in mind.