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Protect yourself from holiday scammers

Hollywood, MD- Tis the season to be jolly—but you could find yourself saying “bah-humbug” if the Grinch scams you out of cash, credit or even your identity this holiday season.

The holiday season is a time of giving and sharing—for others—it’s a time of deceiving and stealing. Sadly, many Americans find themselves the victims of scammers this time of the year.

There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from the folks on Santa’s naughty list.

1. Shopping deals: Deals might be popping up in your email for items you’re interested in purchasing. It’s designed to look like a legit retail website, however, it’s designed to steal your information. If you want to purchase from a retail, go directly to their site to place your order.

2. Package deliveries: Similar to the shopping emails, you might receive an email from a company like UPS or FedEx letting you know your package is on its way. There might be a link that says, “Click here for delivery information.” Don’t do it. One click can download a virus into your system and steal all of your personal information.

3. Holiday e-cards: It’s nice to receive an electronic card from a relative but make sure it was intentionally sent by the sender. Holiday e-cards can contain links to view the greeting card and instead unleash havoc on your hard drive.

4. Fake call centers: It’s an old scam that is popular around the holidays. The caller usually claims you own money for an unpaid bill and they’ll demand immediate payment. Hang up and contact the company directly to verify.

5. Charity scams: It’s a great feeling to help the unfortunate during the holidays. Sadly, there are those out there who want to take advantage of your generosity. If you receive an email asking for a donation, delete it. If you’d like to donate, go directly to a charity’s website.

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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