Christmas Fraud

CLAYTON HEIMLICH

staff writer

Fraud is everywhere. It’s at restaurants, online, and even at gas stations. It is all over the place, especially during the Christmas season. There are countless amounts of people just waiting to get their hands on your credit cards or Social Security numbers. There are many different ways that people fall victim to fraud, but the most common way is online.

In the last few years the internet has evolved into a way to buy things, pay bills, and most importantly do our work. However, this new way to access information has also opened up many new ways for people to get scammed. Con artists love Christmas because it is when a ton of people are buying things online and putting their information out there for people to grab.

The most popular way that people are getting scammed online is through untrustworthy and corrupt websites. There are always a lot of new products that come out around Christmas, and sometimes they sell out before you get a chance to buy them on the company’s official website or Amazon. Then after hours of searching, you look up the product and find some website that you have never seen before that has the product for sale. Chances are that website is a scamming site that is going to steal your credit card number and make purchases with it when you buy something from them. So the best way to avoid this kind of scamming is just by being careful and making sure you are making a legitimate purchase on a trusted website.

Another way that people get scammed is identity theft. Scammers will do anything to get your personal information like your Social Security number, which someone can use to create new credit cards and make purchases on them. And the most popular way they get their hands on your personal information is by dumpster diving. When you throw things away like old documents or credit cards, chances are they will have some sort of personal information on them that scammers can use to their advantage. The best way to avoid this kind of fraud is to always shred old documents before throwing them away, and to cut up old credit cards so that nobody can get any information from it.

It was terrible. One day I tried to make a purchase with my credit card but it was declined. So I called the credit card company and they said that I had been making too many big purchases, when I really hadn’t bought anything in weeks,” said SM parent and credit card fraud victim Sally Schultz. “I had made a purchase online a few weeks prior buying a birthday present for my cousin. The website looked kind of fishy but I didn’t think much of it at the time.”

Sally, unbeknownst to her, had given someone complete access to her credit card information.

I was powerless. I could not do anything but wait for the credit cards to be cancelled and everything to be returned,” said Sally. “Eventually we got everything cleared up and no charges were made against me, but regardless it was a terrible feeling.”

In conclusion, there are many ways to be scammed this Christmas season, but it is also very easy to avoid. All you need to do is make sure you are making a legitimate purchase if you are buying anything online, and make sure your personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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