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Top 7 ways to avoid getting scammed this holiday season

Top 7 ways to avoid getting scammed this holiday season
Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 23, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission and AARP released scam warnings Wednesday to help people avoid getting ripped off this holiday season.

1-Beware of fake smartphone shopping apps

According to AARP, scam artists are creating fake shopping apps for iOS and Android phones that capture your credit card information.  Both Apple and Google are trying to weed out fake apps as they are reported, but be on alert,

2-Use your credit card

If someone asks you to pay with an iTunes or Amazon gift card or tells you to wire money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram, consider that a red flag. Scammers want to get their money fast — and make it nearly impossible for you to get it back, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Both the FTC and AARP recommend using credit cards to shop because they have fraud protection built in.

3-Be careful applying for holiday jobs

AARP says scammers are using bogus online job applications as a way to get your personal information, especially your Social Security number.  “Don’t share your number with anyone unless you absolutely have to, and never provide it until you confirm you are dealing with a real organization looking for employees,” said Kristin Keckeisen, spokesperson for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

4-Be wary of holiday e-cards

If you get an email that says you have an e-card or gift certificate, and you’re not expecting one, your antenna should go up.  Fake e-cards can carry malicious software or contain unwanted advertising.  “Clues of a fake card include not knowing the sender, not being familiar with the e-card company, and misspellings,” said Keckeisen.

5-Spot imposters

Scam artists may pretend to be someone else, such as someone from the IRS or another government agency.  Or they might send phishing emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to “verify” your credit card or checking account number, according to the FTC.  

6- Make sure your money goes to real charities

Sometimes charity scammers try to take advantage of your good will during the holiday season. The FTC recommends you check out a charity before you give.

7-  Remember the old saying

If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Many people want a great deal, but remember to be realistic when you’re shopping.  Check for reviews on Yelp, Google or through the Better Business Bureau, according to AARP.  You can also search the retailer’s name and “scam” to see if it checks out before typing in your payment information.