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Consumer Tips for Guarding Against Holiday Grinches

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022   

The holiday shopping season is officially here, and that also means scammers are out in force. A new survey from AARP finds fraud is common this time of year, with more than three-quarters of respondents saying they've been the target of a scam tied to the holidays. The rise of online shopping has created a new venue for criminals to try and steal from unsuspecting consumers.

David McCallister, a fraud-watch volunteer with AARP Idaho, said fraudsters try to scare you into believing you need to click on a link.

"They do the same thing in text messaging and emails, trying to get you alert so you just click on something, and once you click on something, you could have some problems if you're not careful," McCallister said.

McCallister said a new type of scam called "smishing" is becoming common, in which a scammer sends a text, often pretending there is something wrong with your bank account or a shipping order. AARP also advises against clicking on ads, and instead advises people to type the name of the website they want to visit into the browser.

McCallister said people should keep track of their purchases around the holidays and also that the devices you use to make purchases have built-in protections.

"Keep your phone and computer updated - meaning software, make sure all the browsers are always current, because that will help in security reasons for you," he said.

To protect people from fraud, AARP Idaho and the Idaho Scam Jam Alliance are holding free, virtual scam jams on December 6th and 13th.

Disclosure: AARP Idaho contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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