‘Tis the season for scams | PostIndependent.com

‘Tis the season for scams

Shelley Polansky
Better Business Bureau

Looking forward to the holidays? So are the scammers. As consumers begin to make their holiday gift lists and charity donations, scammers are decking the halls with tried and true holiday scams.

This holiday season, Better Business Bureau urges consumers to give scam artists the short shrift by taking the following precautions:

• Check BBB Business Reviews at wynco.bbb.org before making a purchase in the store or online. Make sure that the company has a physical address and telephone number.

• If you shop Craigslist or other classified sites, look for local sellers and conduct transactions in person. Bring a friend if you’re uncomfortable meeting the seller alone.

Never wire money as payment. If you’re shopping on auctions such as eBay, look at seller ratings and read their reviews.

• Don’t let yourself get bogged down in purchases or lose track of your wallet. While you’re struggling with bags of presents, identity thieves may see an opportunity to steal your wallet or look over your shoulder to copy your debit or credit card numbers.

Know where your credit and debit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your PIN while purchasing items or getting money from an ATM. Make sure you put your card back in your wallet after each purchase.

• Research charities with BBB before you give to see if the charity meets BBB’s 20 Standards of Accountability. Beware solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans. Resist demands for on-the-spot donations. Current reports on national charities are available at give.org.

• Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails. Scammers use phishing emails to get your personal information or to break into your computer.

Beware of e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies such as UPS or FedEx with links to package tracking information.

Email addresses that don’t match up, typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of a malicious phishing email.

Also beware of unsolicited emails from companies with which you have no association. Make sure you have current antivirus software and that all security patches have been installed on the computer.

For more holiday tips, visit wynco.bbb.org or call (800) 564-0371.

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