Experian Credit Bureau released five holiday scam alerts this week that amount to some really good advice whether you are holiday shopping in stores or online.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…. for Criminals, Cheats and Scammers “ addresses travel scams, online shopping scams, email scams, employment scams and charity scams. Author Eva Velasquez who is also President/CEO of the Identify Theft Resource Center, bluntly writes that scammers are waiting for you at every turn.
Personally, I can’t stand the mall, any mall. I always believed thieves, rapists, killers and terrorists lurked around malls. I remember our tourist trip to the Mall of America in Minneapolis some years ago. We parked near the main entrance, walked inside and were immediately overwhelmed by its enormity. That’s not what made us turn around and leave right away. What caused us to U-turn at the door was that other doors were too far away and there were no visible EXIT signs. Nice place. We took a picture by the outside sign and drove away in our rental car.
I had to visit the local mall the other day and before I got out of the car (near the entrance), I watched two women put shopping bags in their trunk and return to the mall. I was not the only person who saw them do that. What if this criminal had been lurking in the area?
Then once inside, the little store I needed was about to close the gate before the sales person saw me coming toward her. It was 1 o’clock in the afternoon but since she didn’t have any customers, she was taking a break. I am so glad that shop was near the door. She made a sale from me and I headed for the door. Malls are doomed. There have been so many written and physical warnings. You can look at the empty malls without ever reading the financial reports. Some people think that means bargains and people like me think that means “Stay close to the door or stay home”.
Several years ago, we ordered a wine basket form a California company to be shipped to someone in Florida. One month later we had a credit card charge on the bill for a Mexican restaurant in California. The wine basket company hired temporary help to take in online orders. A similar theft attempt happened to me through a major department store when someone ordered shoes two sizes larger than mine. I discovered that while checking the credit reports. There I found a balance on a store card that shouldn’t have had a balance.
There are so many shipping scams going on that the only way to be safer is to ship with the top shippers, the Post Office, UPS and FEDEX. An even better preventive tactic is to ship early, but it’s too late now to talk about that this year. Early would have been before Thanksgiving.
We also learned a personal lesson when ordering gift cards. Most retailers give you the choice of having the card shipped to you or directly to the recipient via mail or email. It may sound impersonal, not being wrapped in a bow under the tree, but e-gift cards are easy safe and the modern way. The major credit card companies give you the choice of having the gift card sent to you or directly to the recipient, but always via U.S. mail. It doesn’t matter which you choose because if the recipient doesn’t receive the package, the credit card company can cancel those cards. What a hassle just worrying about those things in the mail. If you are mailing it, don’t send it in a regular envelope that allows anybody to “feel” the card inside. I did that once, sending a card to a family member and when traced, it had been stolen by a postal worker who also had an accomplice in the bank. However, by the time the postal worker got to the teller’s window, he or she was on closed circuit video. How careless and what an old fashioned way of stealing. But, experts say it’s just old fashioned theft that’s working, even in the digital world.©
by Dianne Thompson® comments welcome at email@example.com