Though it may be the most wonderful time of the year, it's also a popular time for scams and fraud. Protect your finances (and preserve your holiday happiness!) by following the tips below:
Beware of fake charity collectors. Individuals who show up on your doorstep or call you on the phone claiming to be collecting money for a charity may not be telling you the truth. If you wish to donate, contact a charity directly. Or, look for The Salvation Army and other collectors inside stores, as they're more likely to be legitimate.
Prevent pickpocketing. Keep your wallet in a closed purse or a pocket with your hand on it and leave non-essential identifying information and spare credit cards at home. Also, return frequently with gifts to your car and lock them out of sight in the trunk.
Click carefully. Your favorite store just sent you a great coupon - but wait! Before you click on email links, be sure of where they lead. Scam emails can look just like the real ones from your favorite stores, with links that appear to take you to legitimate sites. But hover over the link and you may see a different web address - this could be a fake site designed to gather your credit card information for fraud. Your safer bet is to manually navigate to your favorite retailer's website and type in the coupon code.
Avoid "seasonal hire" scams. Fraudsters may send you an email promising a non-existent job for which you'll need to pay an upfront fee. Keep in mind that you should never pay for a job. Also, be wary of "work now, get paid later" claims, and check any potential employer's credentials. Another top holiday tip? Sign up for Card Controls for your Democracy FCU debit and credit cards! You'll be able to turn your cards on and off, authorize alerts and receive real-time notifications to better protect your money. For additional information, contact us today!