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5 Scams to be Aware of This New Year

Avoid going from wrapping bows and holiday cheer to alarming scams and post-holiday fear. Hold on to your joyous holiday memories, and avoid scammers by following these post-holiday tips.

Giveaways & Gift Cards

Avoid giving away your information this new year. Scammers often trick people into buying gift cards for them in exchange for prizes and giveaways. Scammers use keywords like “reward”, “giveaway”, and “claim” to catch your attention. They also use fake emails to trick you into believing it's someone you trust.

Always double-check with your friends and family to verify the message is legitimate and coming from them.

Charities

Giving comes down to an act of love and good intentions, but scammers take advantage of these charitable acts to scam people. Scammers disguise their emails as charities and ask for donations or personal information. Sometimes spotting scammers is difficult. They will use emails like [email protected] It will look like the email because it has our name, but it is not ours.

To avoid these scams, never give out money or information to a charity that is reaching out to you on behalf of an organization. Instead, try to look up the organization online to check if they are a legitimate organization. Once you verify they are, look up their contact information to see if it matches. Most organizations have donation options on their website, so you can avoid donating via email.

Social Media Exchanges

A new social media scam that has been going around is Secret Sister. Imagine secret Santa with a pyramid scheme twist - that’s Secret Sister. This online gift exchange suggests giving a gift to someone randomly, then someone random will send a gift to you. Eventually, someone will be left disappointed, as the promised gift does not appear

Exchanging gifts with random people might sound exciting, but it's dangerous. Try avoiding gift exchanges with strangers who you may not know. Sometimes these strangers can often be after your personal information. It is best to be aware of Secret Sister and the stranger dangers that come with it.

Post-Holiday Sales

Online shopping has become such a quick and easy process. You can get anything online, and most people use online shopping 100% of the time. There used to be a time when people would wake up at 5 am and wait for stores to open after the holidays so they could take advantage of the post-holiday sales. Now, you wake up, pick up your mobile phone, and shop online. However, online shops are one of the easiest ways for people to hand over their information.

To avoid sending out personal data to scammers, stick with shops you know are real. Most companies have online shops set up through their website and apps. Instead of clicking on links through social media or emails, go directly to these sites and browse deals. So your information is safe and protected from potential scammers.

Package Delivery

Although the holidays are over, some packages are still coming late. Avoid falling for text message scams that might alert you that a package is running behind. Scammers send notifications via text message stating the delivery failed and to click the link to provide an updated address. This scam aids the scammer in obtaining your personal data for use in future fraudulent activities.

Although these links look real, they are fake. To avoid this scam, call the company directly to verify the message. Most delivery companies will not reach out if they are running behind. Instead, they provide tracking information so you can track your packages through their websites or apps.

The New Year is the start of saving money, breaking bad habits, and learning from mistakes. Start your New Year right and avoid these scams. Be aware and cyber secure with what information you release online.

Happy New Year from Aventa Credit Union.