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Groups: Watch Out for Scammers During Holiday Shopping

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Thursday, December 2, 2021   

CONCORD, N.H. -- With the holiday shopping season under way, experts are urging Granite Staters to watch out for scammers. A survey from AARP found many plans for holiday shopping this year may incur some risk.

Seth Boffeli, fraud prevention advisor for the AARP Fraud Watch Network, said there are steps folks can take to make sure they are shopping from reputable sources. He advised it is important to use trusted vendors and stores, and he added red flags may include having something in stock which is sold out everywhere else, or having a sale for more than 55% off.

"We can't really get rid of scammers, but what we can do is make sure that we're all practicing safe shopping practices during the holidays to keep ourselves protected," Boffeli explained.

The survey found 3 of 4 Americans have experienced some kind of fraud in the past, and nearly 40% received requests from charities that felt fake or fraudulent.

Sunny Mulligan Shea, victim advocate for elder abuse and exploitation for the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, said it's important to keep your personal information close.

"Be leery, think twice, don't give out any personal information over the phone, or online, unless you have initiated the call, and you know exactly who you're giving this information to," Shea counseled.

She recommended watching out for fraudulent gift cards as well, and not buying them from third parties. And she pointed out credit cards can sometimes be safer from scams than debit cards, since they are not directly linked to your bank account.

Tom Donovan, director of charitable trusts for the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, noted the holiday season is also a time when many people give to charity, and scammers sometimes take advantage. He emphasized it is key to make sure you know exactly where your donations are going.

"There are lookalike names that some scammers use that sound like or look like well-known charities," Donovan stressed. "Go to the website and make sure you've got the name of the charity correct. Do people report online that this particular charity is a scam or there are a lot of complaints about it?"


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