10 Ways to Avoid Fraud This Holiday Season

The holidays are a great time for gift giving and donating to charities, but don’t let the joys of the season keep you from noticing the red flags for fraud and identity theft. Yesterday, BBB co-hosted @Experian_US’s #CreditChat to cover the basics for guarding against holiday fraud and scams. Did you miss the Twitter Chat? Check out the full recap here and see the highlights below:

Q1:  How can we protect ourselves from online scams?

A1: Scammers want either your money or your identity. Be wary of unsolicited emails. Don’t send $$ to someone you’ve never met. #creditchatholiday guy stressed 150x150 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud This Holiday Season

A1: Online shopping deals usually increase at the holidays. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know. bbb.org/scam #creditchat

Q2:  What advice do you have for those shopping on their phone or mobile device?

A2: When shopping on your mobile device, don’t use unsecured WiFi connections and save your purchase confirmation. #creditchat

Q3:  What should we do if we get a phone call from a “charity” asking for money?

A3: Holidays are a great time for giving, but don’t fall for high pressure requests. Check out the #charity first at give.org #creditchat

A3: Before you give, check out the #charity with BBB Wise Giving Alliance at give.org #creditchat

Q4:  How can we reduce fraud or viruses through email?

A4: Never open attachments or click links from people you don’t know. Misspellings and grammar mistakes may indicate a scam. #creditchat

A4: Use anti-virus software regularly. Use email filters to block viruses and malware. #creditchat www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG7Ywm0Golk

Q5:  What should we avoid carrying in our purses and wallets while shopping?

A5: Never carry government cards, passport or birth certificate. These are top 3 documents for identity theft. #creditchat

Q6:  What tips do you have for creating strong passwords for retail websites?

A6: When creating passwords for retail websites, never use one you’ve used for other sites. Add numbers and symbols. #creditchat

Q7:  What’s the safest way to spend money at stores (cash, credit, debit, or check)?

A7: Shopping with cash may prevent overspending, but using credit cards offer the most protection against fraud. #creditchat

Q8:  Can e-holiday cards have viruses? What should we do if we get one?

A8: E-cards can contain viruses, especially if from someone you don’t know. When in doubt, delete without opening. #creditchat

Q9:  What should we do if a retailer won’t take back an item and will not give us a refund?

A9: Not all holiday items can be returned. Ask first, read the fine print and keep receipts for proof of purchase. #creditchat

Q10:  What is one final tip to help consumers avoid fraud this holiday season?

Q10: Do your research, check out return policies, go to bbb.org for BBB Business Reviews before handing over money. #creditchat

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About Kelsey Owen

Kelsey Owen is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Better Business Bureau serving Metro Washington DC and Eastern PA (@BBB_DCPA). Prior to December 2014, Kelsey was the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Council of Better Business Bureaus based out of Arlington, VA. Kelsey graduated from Denison University with a degree in economics and communication and is currently pursuing a master's degree in media entrepreneurship.