Rosa County Sheriff's Office
the holiday season, scammers are in the business of taking rather than giving.
Here are some tips, from Sid Kirchheimer (author of Scam-Proof Your Life) on
how you can protect your identity and money:
- Shopping Online .
Beware of scammer run websites that can lead you down the path of identity
stealing computer “malware.” There are many copycat websites that simulate
legitimate retailers who get your credit card number or sell you inexpensive
counterfeit goods. In order to protect yourself don't click on a link before
you carefully read its address. Look for unfamiliar firms, misspellings or
missing letters that might be a clue to an illegitimate company. Don't provide
your credit card numbers, when paying online, unless the address begins with
“https.” The “s” stands for security.
- Gift Cards : Thieves
will take gift cards from retailer racks and scan them to read the codes under
the scratch-off strips. Then they put them back on the racks and check toll-free
numbers later to see if the cards were activated and for how much. They then
use the card's numbers to make purchases, before the recipient of the gift
card does. To prevent this from happening to you, purchase any gift cards
from a store's customer service counter or website and not from less secure
gift card racks.
- Greeting Cards :
You receive an email stating that someone has sent you an e-greeting. If you
click on the link or attachment you might get “malware.” To avoid this, delete,
without opening, any email that states you are receiving the greeting from
an unnamed “friend,” “admirer,” or even “webmaster.” Legitimate notifications
have a confirmation code that can be used to view the card by going to the
card company's website.
- Charity Cons : You
may receive a request to fund police, fire, veterans, etc. during this holiday
season, but in reality they may deal with “fake” funds and your money, if
given, won't go to these particular groups. Your best idea is to ignore any
email solicitations and beware of the many fundraising phone calls. Don't
provide a credit card number to someone who calls you. Ask for their printed
material. Before donating, always check to see if the charity is legitimate
by making a phone call or doing an online search at www.charitynavigator.org.
- Deliveries : Some
tricksters are sending out emails claiming that a courier service or the US
Postal Service has a package for you. Don't click on the links promising “details.”
You may get a postcard about an “undeliverable” package. If you call the number
it provides, you may be tricked into making an expensive overseas call, with
the scammer getting part of what you pay. If in doubt, contact the courier
or postal service by locating its phone number yourself.