It’s a jolly time of year. Americans are in a giving spirit as they shop for gifts and give to charities. But scammers are always lurking trying to cash in on your holiday spirit. Navigator Credit Union wants to help you avoid some common scams waiting to cling to you like tinsel to an evergreen.

SMiShing Scam

You’ve probably heard of “phishing” – a scam using emails to get personal information. SMiShing is the same thing but using text message or SMS (short message service). The text seemingly coming from your financial institution saying your debit card has been locked or there has been suspicious activity. The text message asks you to respond to the message or call a number to provide personal information like debit card numbers and PINs to “unlock” the card. Do not respond to such messages. Report it to your financial institution right away.

Shipping and delivery scam

The upsurge in seasonal package deliveries gives scammers the opportunity to steal your personal information. You might find an official-looking notice in your mailbox stating a delivery attempt was made. You’re given a number to call and are asked to provide personal information like a credit card in order to get the package delivered. Before you call the phone number, check it for a web address and tracking number. If the delivery is legitimate, you should be able to research it on the delivery service’s website.

Phony charities scam

During the holidays, many of us open our wallets to charity. But be careful your generosity doesn't meet the Grinch. Don't give to crowdfunding sites established by people you don't know. Check how much a charity actually gives toward its mission on websites like CharityWatch (https://www.charitywatch.org/) and Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org). If you want to get a tax deduction, you can also go to the charity's website to confirm its tax-exempt status or check with the IRS (https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/).

Holiday job scam

Many companies are hiring seasonal workers to fulfill the demands of holiday shoppers but scammers are out there too. According to the Better Business Bureau (https://www.bbb.org/holiday-tips/), some red flags include upfront application and training fees, job offers with no required interviews and big money for small jobs. A good rule of thumb is if a job seems too good to be true, it probably is.

About Navigator Credit Union

Navigator has been serving the Gulf Coast for 80 years. In 1939, the credit union began offering savings accounts and loans to local shipyard workers who, until then, did not have access to financial services. Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Mobile or Baldwin Counties can join. Navigator is a full-service financial institution offering innovative services such Save’N Up Debit card savings program and Credit Builder Loans, as well as interest-bearing checking accounts, high-yield savings plans, unlimited rewards credit cards, mortgage services, competitive vehicle loans, retirement planning and more. Visit navigatorcu.org (https://navigatorcu.org/) or call 800-344-3281 for additional information.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved. 

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