Just as you are hitting the malls and cybermalls looking for the ideal gift for that someone special this holiday season, be assured that con-artists are looking for ways to rip you off. To avoid becoming a victim, The Lee County Sheriff’s Office encourages you to familiarize yourself with these ten most popular holiday scams:
1. Craigslist and eBay – Does the deal sound to good to be true? If it does, it probably is. Buy only from reputable sellers.
2. Charity Phishing – Before donating to charities check them out on www.give.org; www.charitynavigator.org; or www.bbb.org. You can also contact the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 477-1242.
3. Fake Invoices – Cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications that appear to be from FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal Service. To confirm authenticity contact the phone number listed on the official website of the delivery agency.
4. Holiday e-cards – Beware of clicking on a holiday e-card from someone you don’t know; it could deliver malware, spyware or pop-ups.
5. E-mail Banking Scam – Cybercriminals trick consumers into divulging their bank details by sending official looking emails. They may allude to purchases being made using your accounts. Don’t respond to these e-mails, instead contact your bank directly.
6. Employment Scams – Be careful when responding to or accepting a job offer via the internet. Do not give personal information or accept a check that requires you to wire funds as part of your job “assignment”.
7. Credit Card – The use of credit and debit cards increases during the holiday season; keep track of your cards and your purchases. Check your statements carefully.
8. Out of Sight Out of Mind – Use common sense when shopping. Put your purchases in the trunk of your car and limit the amount of cash you carry.
9. Pickpocketing – Purse snatchings and pocket pickings still happen. Crowded malls and distractions of the holiday season give thieves the perfect opportunity to work their trade. Men should carry their wallet in the front pocket and ladies should keep their purse closed and in sight.
10. Fake Travel Sites – These sites offer amazing holiday deals on vacation rentals or hotels to lure you into providing personal information that can be used to steal your identity or access your bank account. Beware of sites that require you to pay upfront or do not provide a phone number.
Don’t let the warmth of the season cloud your judgment. Be careful and be safe.
If you have questions about this or if you have received a call and would like to report it, please contact the Fraud Hotline at 239-477-1242.