Keeping Scammers from Dimming Holiday Cheer

Form of payment is key.  If someone is asking you to pay with an iTunes or Amazon gift card or to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram: Don’t do it. Scammers ask you to pay in ways that let them get the money fast — and make it nearly impossible for you to get it back. If you’re doing any holiday shopping online, know that credit cards have a lot of fraud protection built in.
A key way to spot imposters is understanding imposters pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send money or personal information. They might say you qualified for a free government grant, but you have to pay a fee to get it. Or they might send phishing emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to “verify” your credit card or checking account number. Don’t buy it.
In the holiday spirit and taking advantage of tax benefits, it’s a big time of year to donate to charities.  To make sure your money is really getting to a real charity, research your chosen charities first.  Good resources for verification include Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Guide Star.
The holiday season is upon us–let’s make it the cheeriest ever.
For more on identity theft best practices please visit

by Judith