How to Avoid Scams This Holiday Season

Paul Miller |

You are already looking forward to the upcoming holiday season, but you are not the only one. The bad guys are already gearing up for the holidays, and criminal activity is all too common during this time of year.

If you want to enjoy a festive holiday season without becoming a victim, you need to take a proactive approach. That starts with educating yourself about the types of scams that operate at this time of year. The more you know about how the bad guys are operating, the easier it will be to mount a solid defense. Here are three of the most common holiday scams, and how to avoid them.

Fake Retail Websites

Shopping online is convenient, but it can also be risky. If you are not wary when you go online, you could end up at a fake retail site. These fake retail sites are set up by hackers and other criminals, and their goal is to collect your credit card information and other personal data.

You can protect yourself by sticking to the sites you know and trust, major players in the industry with a long track record of quality customer service. If you must shop at a previously unknown site, do your due diligence by reading the reviews and looking for consumer complaints. No matter where you shop, you should review your credit card statements carefully and be on the lookout for unauthorized charges.

Donation Scams

The holiday season is a time for giving; from treating your friends and family members to helping those in need. You want to be charitable at this special time of year, but you do not want to fall victim to a donation scam.

These donation scams take many forms, from unsolicited phone calls that ask for personal information, to fake charity websites and shady crowdfunding appeals. You can protect yourself by donating directly with your favorite charity, and from checking the unbiased charity ratings before donating money or merchandise to a new organization.

Travel Scams

Everyone wants to get away at this time of year, and holiday travel is always a treat. If you are dreaming of a getaway to a luxury resort or tropical destination, you are not alone, but if you are not careful, you could get taken advantage of.

The bad guys know that holiday travel is booming, and they work hard to take advantage of that fact. If you are planning a holiday getaway, you need to know the warning signs of a travel scam.

One of the most common warning signs of a travel scam is a price that seems too good to be true. Much as you would like to believe it, you cannot fly to Jamaica for $100, and that luxury resort will set you back more than $20 a night. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

You should also exercise caution with unsolicited phone calls offering travel deals. These phone calls are often scams, and there is generally a catch to go with that low-priced offer. Before you make your reservations or hand over any personal information, research the offer, and the company, carefully.

The holiday season is a special time of year, but it can be a boom time for scam artists and other criminals. Knowing the warning signs can help you protect yourself and your family, so you can enjoy the holidays without worrying about your finances.

Contact Paul Miller at Indian River Financial for more information.