The United Difference - Fraud

Christmas Fraud - Don't Fall Victim

t’s the time of year for gathering with friends and family and gift giving. However, as the holidays approach, Grinches are out to ruin your Christmas. In the months leading up to Christmas, there is a huge increase of scams and fraud due to the increased spending. Holiday fraud can take many forms, but there are a few that stand out above the rest.
Merchandise/Online: Fake websites promise you the hard-to-find item or a great deal. You send payment, but you never get the gift. Be wary of buying and selling on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Shop locally in person or via trusted websites.
Romance: The holidays can be a lonely time for some. Unfortunately, those seeking companionship may fall victim to fraudsters. Be wary of anyone asking for money.Some of these fraudsters take months or years building your trust.
Charity Scams: The holidays are also a time that many give to charities. Grinches like to set up fake charities or fake links or websites. If you donate, make sure it is a legitimate charity and use a credit card if possible for protection.
Delivery Scams: These include fake texts, calls or emails from USPS, FedEx or UPS saying you need to pay for delivery or provide details to deliver. These texts are made to appear legitimate, but are only trying to get your money or information.
Gift Cards/Cryptocurrency: Many scams year-round involve gift cards or cryptocurrency. Around the holidays you may see people selling gift cards; this can be a scam as well. Remember gift cards are for gifts only. If you are being asked to pay for something (such as a service or fee) or send money via gift card, it’s a scam. Cryptocurrency is a more complicated subject. However, in most cases if you are being asked to set up a crypto account, transfer or purchase cryptocurrency, it’s a scam.
Impersonation: Grinches impersonate government officials, businesses, banks and even law enforcement.They may claim you owe taxes or fees to avoid jail. They may impersonate the bank or credit card companies to get your information. They can even make it appear that the phone call, text, or email comes from a legitimate company. Always contact the entity directly by a phone number you can verify, never use the number in the communication received.
Grandparent Scams: Grinches impersonate law enforcement or a family member. They will claim your family member is in trouble and needs funds to settle legal fees, get out of jail, or just for help buying something. They may pretend to be your family member themselves. Sometimes they may even use your family member’s name. The end goal is to prey on your love and get you to send money. Hang up and call your family member with a number you have for them. Don’t listen to the fraudster’s threats. Always verify with the famly member no matter what the scammer tells you.
Remember, fraudsters are very creative at making up stories and situations to get you to send money to them. They want you to act fast and without thinking. They may call you names or threaten your friends or family. They will also coach you on what to tell your bank, friends, or family. They will threaten that you must keep everything a secret or face further issues. There are no situations that would require you to make up a story or lie to your bank. This is only a scare tactic and allows the scammer to remain in control and not get caught. At the bank, we ask you to please be truthful if asked questions. Our staff is trained on identifying the red flags of scams and fraud. We are here to help you and protect your hard earned money. Don’t let the Grinch ruin your Christmas!