Scammers on the Prowl: Stay Safe This Black Friday

Black Friday Baloney: Sometimes It Is Too Good To Be True

( – When it comes to a good Black Friday deal, it’s hard to believe how good some of them are. Unfortunately, scammers love to scam the unsuspecting at this time of year. While seniors are most affected by this problem, people of all ages and experience levels are being ripped off. Understanding the most common scams can prevent you and a loved one from falling victim to these crimes.

The Fake Charity

Not all charities – even well-known ones – are well-known. Charity scammers are primarily active this time of year, as 36% of donations are made during the holiday season. Fortunately, you can use AARP and FTC-recommended third-party websites, such as CharityWatch, to review all aspects of your charity before donating.

Item Order Issue

“Due to an address issue, the USPS could not deliver the package. Please enter your details to continue.”

Nobody wants to miss out on the vacation packages on offer. But – this email is a scam. The USPS does not request personal information by mail; if unsure, you can call or go to the post office in person.

These scams happen especially during the holiday season, as we are concerned that there might be problems or delays in sending gifts to our loved ones.

Going Phishing

Phishing is a tactic used by scammers, usually via email, to trick you into revealing your personal information. If you click on an untrustworthy website and enter your personal information, you have just given it to a scammer who may sell it on the dark web! Take your time reading emails, especially checking the sending email address, and ensure you click on a legitimate site. Remember, most legitimate websites will not ask you for your personal information in an email.

Fraudulent Website

This goes hand in hand with phishing: and is precisely what it sounds like: a deceptive website. Fraudsters can use artificial intelligence to copy and recreate legitimate websites, making them harder to detect. Always check the URL at the top of your browser to ensure you are on the official website. Additionally, you should never click on a link in an email that redirects to a website unless you are sure the email is from a verified source.

Card Skimmers

Card dispensers are often connected to pumps at kiosks and other kiosks. They read your card so you can swipe and write down the number. Always check this box before swiping, touching, or inserting the card into the reader. If you believe the reader has been deceived, report it to the operator and do not swipe the card.

How to Avoid Black Friday Scams

There are several ways to avoid Black Friday scams:

  • Always check the sender’s email address, copy or words, and where each reply or click is sending you.
  • For the best deals, head straight to your favorite online store (like Walmart or Amazon) by clicking on the search box or, better yet, using their official app.
  • Always use the credit card with the lowest purchase limit. That way, scammers will not be able to access as much money if they do capture your payment method.
  • Beware of gas stations or other self-service locations, as these are popular spots where scammers can attack. If you see a credit card skimmer, do not use it and immediately report it to the seller.

Finally, always plan your activities and do your Christmas shopping before the last minute. Cheaters become more active as the season progresses. The sooner you buy, the less likely you are to become a victim.

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