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AARP AARP States Tennessee

‘Tis The Season to Watch Out For Scammers

10 Tips to keep scammers from taking the cheer out of your holiday season.

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The holidays are upon us – and scammers are working their hardest to steal your money and gifts! This year, stay one-step ahead of thieves and protect yourself from becoming a victim of a holiday scam.

“The holiday season is a time for togetherness and giving, but it also creates a huge opportunity for scammers,” said Gerre Currie, AARP Tennessee State President. “It’s important to be on the lookout for scams and AARP offers wonderful resources to help you fight back – including a scam-tracking map and our toll free Helpline (877-908-3360).”

While it’s true that scams happen all year, but fraud activities are heightened due to the seasonal increase of deals and purchases.

Here are 10 tips to help you stay aware and more protected from holiday scams:

1. Know which high-risk scams that usually occur during the holidays! 
During the holidays a few scams that you should be aware of are within Online Shopping, Charity Scams, Delivery Scams, and Travel Scams. A few examples of these scams will be covered in the following tips.

2. AVOID websites, ads, and deals that include spelling errors or shoddy grammar 
Online shopping scams can include fake websites that look similar to legitimate sites, but have misspellings (i.e., When it comes to misspellings or grammar that is not necessarily accurate, a scam is likely lurking beyond the surface. If the language does not seem right, the safest option is to avoid that website, ad, deal, etc. completely.

3. Be skeptical of charities that pressure you to donate right away 
The holiday season is often a lucrative time for charities to receive gifts and donations. They also recognize that just because someone does not give right away, does not mean they will not in the future. This knowledge prevents legitimate charities from attempting to pressure people to give them donations right away. If you feel pressured to donate, steer clear or do further research on the charity.

4. Visit websites directly through their web address instead of clicking links from suspicious text messages and emails 
One example of this is a travel scam conducted through promotional emails for free flights from suspicious companies that convinces you to click a link and type in your credit card information.

5. Pay using credit cards instead of debit card, gift card, or cash 
Credit cards have more protection against fraudulent activities.

6. Avoid conducting business online using Public Wi-Fi 
Surf the internet and shop safely from home instead of on public wifi at locations like the library or fast food restaurants.

7. Steer clear of anything that prompts you to pay with a gift card or wire transfer 
If possible, pay with a credit card so you are better protected.

8. Use Charity Navigator or to research charities before donating 
Charity Scams can look like a fake organization collecting money for personal benefit rather than for a noble cause. Be especially wary of charities you’ve never heard of and do you own independent research.

9. Do not leave valuable items in the car. 
If valuables are seen being left in your car, thieves will see you as an easy target.

10. Check delivery issues directly through source (UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc.) 
A delivery scam could be done through a phishing email or text message pressuring you to click a link and correct your address in order for your package to arrive on time. Instead of clicking the link, call the delivery source or check your tracking number through the website.

Take our holiday scams quiz or view our Scam Tracking Map to ensure you are prepared for this holiday season!

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