Ask a goalgami Expert:Answer

Have a financial question?SUBMIT>


What are some holiday financial scams I should be aware of?


The holiday season can bring out the best and worst in people. A spirit of generosity is prevalent especially at this time of year. Unfortunately that persuades some unscrupulous individuals that they should take a cut of what so many others are giving. Scammers try to take advantage of the increase in charity around the holidays to make phone calls or send emails soliciting donations. They often give the name of a legitimate charity and ask donations to be sent to an address that does not belong to the charity, or they may say that they represent a charity that has a name close to, but not exactly the same as, a well known organization. Signs that you’re being targeted by a charity scammer, other than basic details that don’t seem quite right, include intense pressure to send money, requests to make checks payable to an individual and not an organization and sketchiness or hesitation when you ask straightforward questions.

Giving is one activity that picks up around the holidays. Another is shopping, of course. A common scam involves websites that offer products, especially hot electronic items, at prices that seem too good to be true because, indeed, they are. Then there are holiday-themed variations on year-round online mischief like phishing scams; these involve emails being sent to people inviting them to click on an enticing link or open an attachment that results in a virus or malware being implanted in their computer. The email at this time of year could be in the guise of a retailer or shipping company allowing you to track a package that you sent or an order that you placed, and the malware may root around in your system looking for personal financial information or keep track of keystrokes and obtain the information that way. During the holidays, and in less festive times, think before you click.

-Conrad de Aenlle