The holidays are a time for giving back, but everyone’s not deserving of your money and goods. Holiday season is a prime time for scams and fraud.
There are a few things to think about before you give this holiday season.
1. Don’t feel pressured
Givers should be on the lookout for high-pressure tactics and not give it or feeling forced to give up your money.
“Number one don’t ever feel pressured to give on the spot, so if someone approaches you, you receive a letter, or you get a phone call, don’t be pressured into saying yes right away,” said Central New York Financial Advisor Marie Norkett. “Take time to think it over and tell them you’ll get back to them.”
2. Research, research, research!
After taking a step back, you should look up or ask about the organization asking for money. “Research the organization, do a little background check,” said Norkett.
Many scammers are skilled in making fake “dummy” websites hoping to attract a generous person or family. They’ll often use names extremely similar to real charities and send out spammy emails.
“There’s email scams and one of the things you can look for is incorrect spelling or bad grammar and that would alert you that something’s not right,” said Norkett.
3. Watch out for the old folks
The elderly and younger generation are susceptible to these types of email and phone scams. “A lot of time the older folks don’t have the knowledge on all the technical ins and outs and so they can very easily be tricked into providing information that can then be used against them. Watch out for your elderly family members and friends and encourage them to be skeptical,” said Norkett.
4. Never share your personal information over the phone or email
“Don’t provide any personal information over the phone or over email. No personal information whatsoever unless you have initiated the call and unless you fully researched the charity or the organization,” said Norkett.
If you find that you’ve been scammed this holiday season, you should “call the police or the attorney general, and report the incident and maybe even the Better Business Bureau,” said Norkett. The more people that know about the scam, the more they can look and inform other people.