Impact – Wealth Management


Unmasking the Grinches (aka Holiday Scammers)  

Uncovering Holiday Scams

The holiday season is upon us, and while it’s a time for joy and giving, it is unfortunately also a great season for those who want to take advantage of others.  Last Christmas I was the victim of identity theft myself, and while I identified it almost immediately, it still wasn’t easy to unwind the damage that was done by those grinches.

You’ve spent years building your assets and your credit score.  Scammers are always on the prowl to rob you of the fruit of your labor.  From online shopping scams to fake charities, the Holiday season is packed with threats to steal your holiday cheer.

Here are some secrets to help you stay one step ahead of the grinches lurking in the shadows.

Online shopping

    1. Shop from trusted websites. Stick to well-known and reputable online companies.  Look for web addresses that start with “https” (the “s” is important) and have a padlock symbol in the address bar.
    2. Don’t automatically trust social media ads. Social media platforms do so much to curate the perfect ads for their users… how many times have you simply THOUGHT about something only to have it show up in your Facebook or Instagram feed.  The algorithm is great at showing us JUST what we need.  This leads to impulse buying.  But not everything that shows up in your social media feed is legit.  Be sure to read the reviews to help ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate company and a legitimate/quality product.
    3. Use strong passwords. It can be hard to keep track of all our passwords.  I get it!  It’s tempting to use something that’s easy to remember or, if you’ve come up with a great “complicated password” it’s tempting to use it for multiple sites. While this makes things easier for us, it also makes things easier for scammers.  Use unique and hard to guess passwords every time you set up an online shopping account.  Consider using a password manager to help you create and keep track of all your “strong” passwords.

Gift Card Scams

There are so many third-party sellers and online market places that sell gift cards.  Be very leery of these sites.  Scammers may sell counterfeit or expired gift cards or even provide fake activation codes, leaving you with a worthless gift.  Though it might not be the cheapest way, buying gift cards directly from the retailer is usually the safest way.

Delivery Scams

With the rise of online shopping, scammers love to send fake shipping notifications claiming that there’s a problem with your delivery.  These messages could be a text, an email or a phone call.  They may ask you for personal information or payment to resolve the supposed problem.  Over the years I have received LOTS of these messages and so far not a single one has been legitimate. ALWAYS verify the problem directly with the retailer or the shipping company.

Fake Charities

During the giving season, scammers may create fake charities.  Sad, but true.  There is a golden opportunity for them to take advantage of people’s generosity.  These scammers may reach out through email, phone calls, or even door-to-door solicitations.  Always research the legitimacy of a charity before making any donations.

As always, beware of emails that provide links or require you to download something and pay EXTRA attention to all the transactions on your bank and credit card statements.  If you see anything suspicious, contact your financial institution immediately.

Most importantly, Remember: SCAMMERS ARE GOOD AT THEIR JOBS!

If you get scammed, you are NOT alone.  It does not mean that you are dumb, or gullible.  Victims of scams are exactly that: victims. It might feel embarrassing, or even shameful, but you aren’t alone in those feelings either.  It is SO important that you tell someone and get support.  The scammers took your money, don’t let them take your mental health too.

Impact Wealth Management LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Impact Wealth Management LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. This website is solely for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as individual financial advice.