Thanksgiving is just around the corner after Halloween, then of course, the big ones - Christmas & New Years! We love the holidays! Unfortunately for us, there’s a downside to running a security company: While most people see the bright side and anticipate the celebrations, it’s our job to watch out for the dangers. For example, since a lot of money is spent during this season, scammers are out in full force. Here are a few of the latest and most popular scams and how to avoid them:
The Slight-of-Second-Hand Scam
The scam: We all love saving money. For-sale-by-owner websites like Craigslist can be a great way to get deals. But scammers can post fake ads and talk you into giving up your cash—for nothing.
How to prevent it: If something sounds fishy or too good to be true, it probably is. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Always meet the seller in person—and never meet alone. Inspect the item carefully. And pay in cash. Whenever possible, try to only use reputable second-hand websites like eBay that have money-back guarantees.
The Fake-and-Take Website
The scam: You Google a popular retail website or a product so you can buy gifts. But scammers build an exact replica of that popular retail site--or a completely fake site claiming to sell the product--and they steal your credit card information when you try to make a purchase.
How to prevent it: If you know what retailer you want, type in the retailer’s web address (like www.target.com) instead of Googling it. If you have to Google it, check the URL under the description to make sure it contains the retailer’s name and says HTTPS and not just HTTP. (The S means it’s a verified, secure site.) If you’re not sure if the site is legit, err on the side of caution and don’t make the purchase. Be careful. Just because it says “Target” or “Overstock” in the name or the logo doesn’t mean it’s actually Target’s or Overstock’s real website. Check with the Better Business Bureau before making purchases on sites you don’t know.
The Not-So-Giving Gift Card
The scam: Scammers will scratch off the cover of secret code on the back of the gift card before you buy it, and write down the code. Then the scammer will call the company to find out if the card has been activated, and use the code.
How to prevent it: Before you buy a gift card, make sure the gift card’s secret code is still covered by the gray bar.
The Personal-Profit Nonprofit
The scam: You’ll have a lot of opportunities to give to charitable causes over the holidays, but make sure the charities are legitimate. Scammers will send emails and even go door-to-door claiming they’re collecting for charity, but they’re just collecting for themselves.
How to prevent it: Research any charity or nonprofit before you give.
At Discount Security Store, we want you to have the safest and happiest holidays possible! So keep an eye out for scams while you’re enjoying the holiday cheer!