The holiday season is in full swing. Whether you are shopping online, donating to charity or just looking for deals, take precaution to ensure that your hard-earned cash is safe. First Federal Bank has compiled this list of common swindles for you to avoid.
The 12 Scams of Christmas:
- Look-alike websites: Many scammers create look-alike sites that can mirror the real sites. Double-check the website address before entering any financial or personal information. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words. Also, be aware that many of these sites contain misspelled words and poor grammar.
- Fake shipping notifications: The notifications may have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. Do not be fooled by a holiday phishing scam.
- E-cards: Electronic cards can be great fun, but be careful. Watch out for these two red flags: the sender’s name is not apparent, or you are required to share additional information to get the card.
- Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer charming and personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check bbb.org to see if the Santa letter service you are interested in is legitimate.
- Grandparents scam: Seniors should be cautious if they get a call from a grandchild claiming to be in an accident, arrested or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Scammers often claim that they want to avoid getting into trouble with their parents and want the grandparents to keep this a secret. Never send money or gift cards unless you confirm the situation with another family member.
- Phony charities: Everyone is in a generous mood during the holidays. Scammers take advantage of this with fake charity solicitations in emails, on social media sites and even by text. Check out charities at give.org before donating.
- Temporary holiday jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help during the holidays, but beware of solicitations that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is hiring.
- Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone. Use a credit card on a secure website. Always look for https in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and the lock symbol.
- Free gift cards: Pop-up ads or email offering free gift cards are often just a ploy to get your personal information that can later be used for identity theft. Avoid clicking on the ads or opening the emails.
- Social media gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal. You buy one gift and get 36 in return. However, it is just a variation on a pyramid scheme, and it is illegal.
- Puppy scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially during the holidays. You may get a puppy mill pooch with problems, or you may get no puppy at all.
- Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer’s real website. Be especially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
How First Federal Bank Protects You
First Federal Bank diligently monitors your account activity for fraud and uses the latest technology to better serve you. If we suspect fraud on your debit card or business credit card, we will alert you in a timely matter.
By actively monitoring our account through OnLine Banking and our banking app, you can ensure no suspicious activity has occurred.
If you suspect you have become a victim of fraud, call 877-367-8178 or visit any branch and follow these five steps to resolving fraud.