Tis the Season for Scam Artists: Stay Vigilant Against Holiday Scams

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(WNY News Now) – As the festive season approaches, authorities caution citizens to remain wary of an uptick in scams targeting unsuspecting individuals. From email and text phishing to online marketplace deals, here’s a comprehensive guide on common scams and preventative measures to safeguard your property, finances, and personal information.

New York – With the holiday season in full swing, law enforcement officials are reminding citizens to be extra cautious as scam artists ramp up their activities during this time of year. The following are common scams to be aware of, along with practical tips to avoid falling victim.

1. Email and Text Phishing: Beware of fraudulent emails or text messages claiming to be from shipping companies or retailers, often disguised as order confirmations. These messages may direct you to enter personal information on fake websites. To protect yourself, verify the legitimacy of such communications directly with the supposed sender and avoid clicking on suspicious links.

2. Delivery Stealing: Coordinate with neighbors or your employer to secure your deliveries when you’re not at home. Having a trusted neighbor hold your packages or arranging for deliveries to be made at your workplace can prevent theft and ensure the safe receipt of your items.

3. Credit Card Skimming: Stay vigilant against credit card skimmers, especially at ATMs, gas pumps, and payment kiosks. Consider using payment apps on your smartphone, and regularly monitor your bank statements to detect any unauthorized transactions. Avoid inserting your card into suspicious card readers.

4. Romance Scams: Be cautious of online relationships that quickly turn into requests for financial assistance. Romance scammers often ask victims to pay for plane tickets, customs fees, or visas. Verify the legitimacy of online relationships and avoid sending money to individuals you’ve only met online.

5. Online Pet Scams: Exercise caution when purchasing pets online. Scammers may pose as retailers, charging exorbitant fees for animals that may not even exist. Preferably, deal with sellers in person and visit their premises to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction.

6. Online Pop-up Advertisements: Avoid clicking on pop-up ads that claim you’ve won prizes. These ads may contain viruses or compromise the security of your device. Stick to reputable websites and never provide personal information through pop-up ads.

7. Online Marketplace Deals: Be skeptical of sellers on peer-to-peer apps and online marketplaces offering elusive toys and games. Verify the legitimacy of sellers and deals before making any purchases to avoid falling prey to fraudulent schemes.

Preventative Tactics:

  • Set up alerts with your credit card company or bank to quickly identify and address fraudulent purchases.
  • Regularly update security features on your devices and run antivirus scans to ensure their integrity.
  • Avoid using smart devices to find customer support numbers; go directly to the company’s official channels.
  • Use credit cards, not prepaid options, for online purchases, providing an added layer of protection.
  • Never click on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails or messages; visit the store’s website directly for purchases.
  • Remember, gift cards are for gifts only and cannot be used to pay bills or debts to the government.

In Case of Scams: Anyone who suspects they may have fallen victim to a scam should file a police report promptly. The best defense against scams is staying informed and remaining vigilant. Authorities emphasize that prevention through awareness is key to safeguarding oneself during this season of increased scam activities.

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