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5 Tips to Keep Your Post-Holiday Shopping Scammer-Free

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The Holiday season might be over, but now starts the next best thing… post-Holiday shopping! You’re probably looking for the perfect way to spend gift cards or Holiday cash and nowadays there are many ways to shop. Online shopping has become extremely popular – in 2017, it was reported that nearly 2.14 billion people preferred to shopping online. So, whether you choose to shop online or in store, it’s important to stay vigilant against scammers.

Check out these five helpful tips to keep you safe while spending your Holiday cash.

Tip #1: Be cautious of a good deal

Scammers are always looking for ways to get your attention. They might use a fake advertisement for a deal on a coveted product and post it to social media. Those $500 headphones that you’ve been eyeing are only $100?! Take a second before you act and ask yourself some important questions. If you know the brand of a product, do they normally have large discounts? Does it seem random or does the discount make sense? Asking these important questions will likely stop you from being scammed.

Tip #2: Use credit cards when you can

Most of us know that when it comes to shopping online or in store, credit cards can be helpful, and that includes protecting you from scammers. If you do happen to fall into a scam, credit cards often have good fraud protection for the cardholder. This means that you’re likely to get more of your money back then if you were to use a debit card or wire transfer.

Tip #3: Shop on websites you can trust

If a stranger asks you for money, you’ll likely want to ask yourself, can I trust this person? What are they going to use my money for? The same questions should be asked when online shopping.

Many times, a scammer will make what seems like a real e-commerce website. The website might even look very similar to the one in which they are copying. However, there will be small differences, for example, there might be a hyphen in a strange spot such as, a-pple.com instead of apple.com. Put your detective skills to the test! Look for anything that seems off and if you do notice something, close the website immediately and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Tip #4: Be wary of curbside fraud

From the onset of the pandemic, we saw a large increase in the number of stores that offer curbside service. In 2020, 6.6% of stores in the United States offered curbside delivery; in 2021, that increased to 50%! It’s also been estimated that 42% of the US population bought groceries online in March 2020.

This service can be great, especially for those with children or busy lives. However, it can also be an easy option for scammers. If someone gets ahold of your card information, they can place an order at a store. From there it’s not difficult for most scammers to make a fake ID that they can use to trick the store clerk. Keep your credit card information safe by being cautious and not entering your information on websites you don’t trust.

Tip #5: Trust your instincts

Often your instincts can be a good indicator that you might be falling into a trap. If you’re feeling nervous about a situation, there’s usually a good reason. Anytime that something feels off, stop to analyze it further. Consider talking to a friend to get their advice and see if they think it seems suspicious as well.

What can I do if I become a victim?

If you think you might have been a victim, first, don’t panic. There are steps that you can take on your road to recovery.

  • If you believe you might have fraud on your credit card, the best thing to do is to call your financial institution. They will be able to turn your card off so that no one else can make any charges. Then your financial institution can walk you through the rest of the necessary steps. To report fraudulent activity on your Kirtland CU Visa® Credit Card, call 1.800.449.7728.
  • If you believe you might be a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov.
  • All scams can be reported to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Don't Be a Victim!

You need to know about credit union impersonation scams so you can avoid becoming a victim of these nefarious tactics.

Online and Mobile Banking will be unavailable on Thursday, May 9 from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 10.