The holiday season is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. It’s also a time when scammers are on the prowl, ready to take advantage of the festive spirit and the distractions that come with it. To ensure that your hard-earned money and financial information stay safe this holiday season, Piscataqua Savings Bank is here to help you avoid common holiday scams. We’ll highlight some of the most prevalent financial scams and provide you with valuable tips to protect yourself.
Online Shopping Scams
Online shopping has become increasingly popular during the holiday season. While it’s convenient, it’s also a prime target for scammers. Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to online shopping scams:
- Shop on Secure Websites: Stick to well-known and reputable websites when making online purchases. Look for “https://” in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating a secure connection.
- Be Wary of Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often lure shoppers with unrealistically low prices on popular products.
Phishing Emails and Messages
Scammers often send fake emails and messages, pretending to be legitimate organizations or friends and family. They might ask for personal information or money. To avoid falling for phishing scams:
- Verify the Source: Double-check the sender’s email address or contact number. Scammers often use slight variations of legitimate addresses.
- Don’t Click Suspicious Links: If an email or message contains an unexpected link, don’t click on it. Instead, go directly to the organization’s official website to verify any claims or requests.
- Be Cautious with Personal Information: Never share personal or financial information via email or text. Legitimate organizations won’t request sensitive data in this manner.
Gift Card Scams
During the holidays, gift cards are a popular present. Scammers take advantage of this by selling counterfeit or already redeemed gift cards. Protect yourself by:
- Buying from Reputable Retailers: Purchase gift cards directly from trusted retailers, and avoid buying them from individuals or unofficial online platforms.
- Checking the Card’s Packaging: Examine the card’s packaging for any signs of tampering. Scammers may have already stolen the card’s information.
- Keeping the Receipt: Always keep the purchase receipt as proof of a valid purchase.
The holidays are a time for giving, and scammers often impersonate charities to steal your money. Protect yourself by:
- Verifying the Charity: Ensure that the charity is legitimate by checking websites like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau.
- Don’t Share Personal Information: Be cautious about sharing personal or financial information with anyone claiming to represent a charity. Legitimate charities won’t pressure you to give right away.
- Donating Directly: Instead of clicking on links or responding to emails, donate directly through the charity’s official website or by mailing a check.
Holiday travel is a common occurrence, and scammers may target you with fraudulent deals or offers. Stay safe by:
- Researching Thoroughly: When booking flights, accommodations, or travel packages, research the company and read reviews before making payments.
- Being Wary of Unrealistic Offers: If a travel deal seems too cheap or too good to be true, it might be a scam. Verify all details before booking.
Social Media Scams
Scammers are active on social media, too. They might impersonate friends, family, or popular brands. Protect yourself by:
- Double-Checking Profiles: If someone reaches out to you on social media with an unusual request, verify their identity by checking their profile and asking questions only the real person would know.
- Being Skeptical of Offers: Be cautious about clicking on links or engaging in offers that come from unfamiliar sources, even if they appear to be from someone you know.
- Adjusting Your Privacy Settings: Review and adjust your social media privacy settings to limit the information scammers can access.
As your trusted financial institution, Piscataqua Savings Bank is committed to helping you safeguard your hard-earned money. If you ever encounter a suspicious financial situation during the holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support. Remember that scammers often prey on trust and the excitement of the season, so always exercise caution. Happy holidays from Piscataqua Savings Bank, and may your celebrations be safe and joyous!