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Fulshear Police Give Tips on Avoiding Common Holiday Scams

(FULSHEAR) – The Fulshear Police Department has released the following statement warning residents about holiday scams and giving tips on how to avoid them.


CHARITY SCAMS


This is the most common type of holiday scam. To make sure your donation really goes to those in need, follow these simple steps:

Research: Unless it’s a known organization, research the organization before donating by visiting charity evaluation sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. The Internal Revenue Service’s Tax-Exempt Organization Search tool can also help confirm if an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.


Donate safely: Use secure services to make the donations—avoid making donations through text messages or in cash, and never share your social security number!


Keep records: Don't forget to keep records of your charitable contributions. This can be helpful when preparing to file your taxes.


DELIVERY SCAMS


As holiday packages are delivered around the country, scammers send out phishing scam emails disguised as UPS, FedEx, or U.S. Postal Service with a link to view your "missed deliveries."


Whatever you do, don't click on these links as they will often lead to phony sign-in pages asking for personal information or to websites infected with malware.


ONLINE SHOPPING SCAMS


It’s so easy to shop online, especially during the busy holiday season. It’s also easy for scammers to extract information if you’re not protecting yourself.


Steer clear of private sellers with goods for sale at a price that seems too good to be true or with hard-luck stories, such as a need to sell quickly because of family loss, divorce or military deployment (these stories are also common in text scams).


Buy directly from a retailer's official website and avoid websites offering unrealistic discounts on popular merchandise.


TRAVEL SCAMS


Booking sites and email offers with travel deals that look too good to be true are most likely scams. Scammers try to mimic popular travel websites by recreating familiar branding, logos, or company verbiage.


Advocate for yourself as a scam checker by looking up unfamiliar retail, travel and charity sites online by searching for their names along with terms like “scam,” “complaints” or “reviews.”

When booking a rental home for a vacation, always pay through the rental services' official website. Some scammers will try to convince you to pay for your trip using other means.


GIFT CARD SCAMS


Gift cards make for the perfect holiday gift. Be cautious about buying gift cards from third-party sites or cards that have already expired—you'll likely be scammed.


To be safe, buy gift cards directly from the retailer and avoid shopping for discount gift cards through local swap sites.


Don't respond to an unsolicited email or text message offering you a gift card—your computer or mobile device could become infected with a virus or malware.


Lastly, remember that financial scams can, and do, happen to anyone. Don’t feel embarrassed. Share your experience with friends and family and ask for help. If you happen to fall victim to a scam, remember to contact your financial institution as soon as possible and file a police report.


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