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Monson Savings Bank Advises Public to Beware of Holiday Shopping Scams

Monson Savings Bank Advises Public to Beware of Holiday Shopping Scams

Unfortunately, for scammers, the holidays can be one of “the most wonderful times of the year.” With people shopping more than they would during the rest of the year, especially online, fraudsters have more opportunities to collect people’s private information, commit fraud, and steal from hardworking people.  

Monson Savings Bank hopes to help you protect yourself from becoming a victim by sharing information on common holiday shopping scams, how you can avoid them, and where you can report them.

Common Holiday Shopping Scams

Discounted Gift Cards

If you see a website selling “secondary market gift cards” at a lower price than the gift card is worth, beware, the gift cards may be fraudulent. Although there are legitimate websites that purchase unwanted gift cards and sell them at a discounted price, it is a common for scammers to advertise for discounted gift cards that are worth nothing at all. In this type of scam, the victim will not realize they have been scammed until they or the person they gifted the gift cards to tries to use it. At this point is probably too late to recoup your stolen money. To avoid falling victim, read independent website reviews before you purchase from the “secondary gift card market.”

Unbelievable Deals

Scammers will create fraudulent posts that appear to be offering an unbelievably good deal. For example, you see a new iPhone on sale for $50 when it typically sells for far more than that. If the deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

Phishing Emails

These emails will appear like they are coming from a legitimate business that you may shop at, but they are specifically designed to trick you. For example, you receive an email from “[email protected]” confirming your recent gift order. This is a scammer hoping you will not notice this illegitimate Amazon email address. It is an email address that looks extremely similar to the email address you would normally receive. Contents of the email may also appear legitimate. They often contain links and once you click on these links you are brought to a fake website in the hopes that you will enter your payment information. The links could also download viruses onto your device. You can avoid this scam by ensuring the “from” address is a legitimate sender and only entering your payment information on websites that you go to on your own, opposed to clicking a link in an email to get to that site.

Porch Pirates

Criminals who steal packages off other’s porches are commonly referred to as “porch pirates.” This scam is different from the rest because you make a legitimate purchase online and it supposed to get delivered to your door. The scam comes in when a thief steals your package from your front door. To help protect yourself, see if you can require a signature for your package so that it is not left out for a porch pirate to plunder.

Pet Scam

Many families purchase or adopt a new pet during the holidays. Scammers are ready to take advantage of these families. If you are searching online for your new furry family member, be extra cautious, this is where most of these scams happen. If the breeder or adoption agency is located very far from where you live, you may be looking at an illegitimate business. Other red flags include: very low prices, requiring upfront payments, refusing to send you pictures of the pet other than what is already online, and being unwilling to speak on the phone.

Where to Report

Holiday shopping scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by visiting reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Slow down, shop smart

Something that is important to keep in mind about all scams is that they can sometimes be tricky to recognize. During the holiday season many people are very busy and eager to get their loved ones a gift. While you are holiday shopping, remember to slow down and take a moment to make sure you are not being scammed.

Monson Savings Bank is dedicated to staying up to date on all the latest financial scams and security trends. To learn more visit the MSB Safety and Security Blog.

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