This is the time of year when most people feel a little more generous, a little happier, and a lot busier. Our activities this time of year are usually motivated by heartfelt and sincere desire to be with loved ones and make lasting memories.
Unfortunately, these motivations can sometimes cause us to overfill our calendar and leave us rushing around and being hurried.
In addition to all of the extra holiday activities are still the day to day tasks that need to get done. Our days are already filled with too much to do, and sometimes the holiday tasks are just enough to cause us to make hurried decisions for the sake of marking something off of the to-do list.
But, make sure that your hurried decisions are not putting yourself or your family at risk. Thieves and scammers count on you being busy and rushing around, and they will leverage that to their advantage.
Here are some scams that are common this time of year:
- Many people using online shopping as a way to get holiday gifts to their home without having to go out and fight the crowds. We all know about cyber safety and how to keep our credit and financial information safe, but there are other ways that you might be at risk with online shopping. For instance, a hacker might send an email disguised as a shipping update or confirmation about an online order that you placed. Make sure that you are paying attention to your emails about online orders, and don’t take for granted that they are all legit. Check the email address that they are from and make sure it contains the actual name of the company you ordered with.
- Scammers use this chaotic time of year to call people and pose as security agents for their banks. This guise is that something has happened with an account and they need to verify some account information. Your bank will never do this. If you get one of these calls, don’t be too busy to listen thoroughly to what is being said and asked of you.
- Limit the use of store cards this time of year. Instead, use only one charge card. While it can be enticing because most store cards offer a percentage off for using it, the risk is probably greater than the reward. When you are using several different cards to charge purchases, you are opening yourself up to need to monitor several different statements.
When it comes to your finances, stay focused during these chaotic holiday times. Decisions about what to bring to the holiday party or what your daughter should wear in her recital can be hurried. But, decisions about your credit and financial accounts should always be thoughtful.