Avoid Holiday Shopping Ho-Ho-Hoaxes
It’s bad enough that scam artists try to steal money from you by misrepresenting themselves as IRS agents. It’s even worse when cons scam you out of holiday cash when you’re trying to give to your loved ones.
‘Tis the season for shopping hoaxes galore. So keep your wits about you and make sure you don’t make mistakes that could lead to heartache this holiday season.
You may find it hard to believe, but according to delivery services like the USPS and UPS, some 23 million recipients each year don’t get their holiday goodies because thieves steal them right off the doorsteps. There is an easy way to prevent this. Simply arrange for a delivery that requires a signature upon receipt. Other options include sending gifts to the recipient’s workplace or have them delivered to a pickup location operated by the carrier. For example purchases made through Amazon can be delivered to an Amazon Locker location and retrieved by using a pickup code. There’s no extra fee to use the service, which can be selected during checkout. Amazon has about 2000 secure locations in more than 50 cities.
Beware Fake Shopping Sites And Apps
It has already been established that crooks can stalk victims via email spam, on social media and in search engine results. During the holidays, you are likely to bring criminals to the forefront when you search terms like “discount toys.” You may follow their compelling but bogus pitches to sham websites that tout bargain buys. However you may end up with cheap counterfeits or nothing at all except malware or identity theft after entering your credit card details.
Take a few moments before click on any link to carefully read the website address. Red flags should fly if you see missing or extra letters of a retailer’s name (such as Tifany instead of Tiffany) and words like “deals,” sales” or “discounts” as part of the URL. (TiffanyDeals.com) Discounts that seem too steep may also point to a scam. Beware of websites that list no phone numbers or street address – only an email or PO box. And be on the alert for sites that don’t offer a return policy or whose purchase pages start with “http” versus the more secure “https” format. And always avoid offers that require payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit cards.
May you and your loved ones have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season. And may it be scam-free.