Question: What are common scams during the holiday season and how can I prevent myself and my family from becoming a victim?
Answer: The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it’s also a time when scammers try to take advantage of consumers and older adults. Staying informed and being cautious can help you and your loved ones from falling victim to holiday scams.
One common scam involves deceptive emails and fake websites. Scammers pose as trustworthy organizations, such as banks or charities to trick older adults. Always check who sent the email, look at the website address, and do not click on suspicious links.
Fake charities are also a common scam during the holidays. Scammers create fake organizations to take advantage of the generosity of people during this season of giving. Before making any donations, research and make sure the charity is real. Only donate directly through their official website, in person, or in other trusted ways.
Online shopping scams can be particularly tricky. Some websites look real and have great deals, but once you pay, they disappear. Stick to well-known websites and retailers. Be sure the website has “https://” in the web address and use a credit card for safety. Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Phone calls and social media scams, where scammers pretend to be friends or family members in need, are on the rise. Scammers are using sophisticated technology to sound like your loved one on the phone. Always verify the identity of the person reaching out, especially if they request personal information or financial assistance.
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, take immediate action! Start by reporting the incident to the police – don’t be embarrassed. Provide them with detailed information about the scam. Also, contact your bank or credit card company to report the scam and inquire about the possibility of recovering lost funds. If the scam took place online, use the reporting tools available on the platform or website. It’s crucial to also notify relevant authorities such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Reporting the scam promptly enhances the likelihood of reclaiming any losses as well as helping the authorities in their efforts to prevent similar incidents.
For the latest and most accurate instructions on reporting scams, you can call the FTC directly at 1-877-382-4357 or visit their website at www.ftc.gov/complaint. This page allows you to submit details about the scam.
Don’t let scammers dampen the joy of the holidays. Be sure to keep yourself and loved ones safe by staying informed!