The holiday season is officially underway, and many people are preparing to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, scammers and con artists are also busy preparing to take advantage of the season with sneaky scams and swindles. Don't let the scammers ruin your holidays! Watch out for the following financial scams to keep your money and information safe.
Social media gift exchanges
Holiday gift exchanges have been circulating social media for a few years, but don't be fooled by this seasonal scam! You may be invited to participate in an exchange, which involves purchasing one gift and receiving several from other people in return. All you have to do is recruit a certain number of people to participate and send gifts. However, this type of “gift exchange" is actually a pyramid scheme, which is illegal and could subject you to penalties for mail fraud. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
While your friends and family may send festive e-cards to your email or social media account during the holiday season, be aware that scammers also use email technology to swipe your information or give your computer a virus. Avoid opening any email that looks suspicious or doesn't list the sender's name, and never click the links in the body of an email from someone you don't know. When in doubt, don't open it!
During the holiday season, you might see emails, text messages, or social media posts from companies promising easy money (or gift cards, products, or coupons) just for filling out a short survey. While some legitimate marketing research firms will pay for your opinions, beware of questionable websites that pose as well-known companies. They may be using phony surveys to prey on your personal or financial information.
Crowdfunding and fake charities
Many people enjoy donating to charitable causes during the holiday season. Sadly, some scammers and con artists are known to take advantage of the generosity of others by posing as fake charities or setting up deceptive crowdfunding campaigns. If you're asked to send money to a charity you're unsure about, be sure to research online to find out if it's an accredited organization.
Keeping your financial information secure
Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you prevent financial fraud. We have the tips, tools, and resources to help you protect against fraud and keep your money and information safe. Visit our Fraud Education and Prevention page for more helpful tips.