Listen to Waldo!

Wise Warbles of Warning

This week, we’re talking turkey about fraud. Actually, if you want to be very precise, we’re blogging with a turkey about fraud. Our fine feathered friend Waldo stopped by to help me get the message out that along with being the season for decking halls and spinning dreidels, it’s also, unfortunately, Fraud season.

Waldo specifically wanted to remind folks that if “it” sounds too good to be true (IISTGTBT), it most likely is. And he should know! Thank you Waldo and please say hi to Cow! (If you want to know the rest of Waldo’s tale and why he’s a bit wiser now, see here).

Bah Humbug Season 2020

Waldo is right. For some, the season of goodwill means taking advantage of other people’s goodwill in various wicked ways. What Scoundrels! They don’t care that their criminal efforts may put them on Santa’s “naughty list” (or even say, in prison).

Don’t get on his bad side!!

And let’s face it. It’s 2020. There may be even more Scrooges than normal out there ready to take advantage of this weirdest of years by offering such empty promises like “miracle” cures (or preventions) or “guaranteed” get rich quick schemes. Ugh!

That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a Grinch yourself, however. Be cheery, but just a little wary too! How? Well, check-out my blog about recognizing various frauds.

“Phishing” For Trouble

A special mention for “phishing” scams is important I think as we’ll all probably be online more than ever shopping, doing business, and socializing. As a reminder, phishing is the use of fake emails, texts, or websites purporting to be from a real company. The purpose is to “lure” you to click on one of the links in the email, text, or attachment to steal your personal info and/or download malware to your device. How to recognize such devious devices? Here is the blog specifically on phishing scams for more in depth info on these nasty schemes.

However, in short, be very suspicious of email “receipts” or other notifications “informing” you of purchases you allegedly made (from Apple, PayPal, Amazon, etc) as well as any email or text claiming a package is waiting for you if you click a link. You may also get ones claiming your bank/credit/ Netflix/Paypal, etc. account has been closed or suspended for “suspicious activity”. In order to re-open the account, you need to provide information or verification. Don’t be fooled! No matter WHAT the email/text says, click on nothing in the attachment or email or text. Close it out and go directly and separately to your own store account or credit card account or bank account.

Phishing: Something Pretending to Be Something Else

Take Back Control and Report It!

Even if you take all reasonable measures and still get caught by a scammer, don’t be too hard on yourself. Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and reality-like. All it takes is one distracted moment and a click on a very “real looking” attachment. And as we get busier and deeper into the holiday season, we’ll all become more distracted! Check this blog on Identity Theft for more information if it does happen. Also, here is the page on the FTC’s website to keep you up on the latest scam alerts along with other links, advice and “how-tos” if fraud happens to you! Take Back Control!

In addition to getting your accounts back in order, please report the fraud! Although fraud can be very difficult to trace, too often it isn’t even reported so tracing/investigating can’t even be attempted. Scammers count on the fact that victims will either shrug it off (if the loss isn’t great) or feel too embarrassed or fearful to let anyone know about it. The lack of reporting contributes to how and why so many of these scams go on so long and unchecked. Don’t be a silent victim. The chances are very great that if you got caught, someone else did too. You are not alone.

Lastly, here is a great article from last year, appropriately entitled “Stopping Scams Cold Turkey” that is just as relevant in 2020. The article suggests sharing the advice with friends and family around the holiday dinner table. While that may not be possible for all this year, the advice is just as good via virtual methods as well.

Be Safe out there and have a Wonderful Holiday season!

 

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