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News & Alerts

How to Avoid Holiday Scams

December 2013

 
While retailers are looking to rake it in, consumers are looking for the best deals in town and online scammers are out there too looking to rip you off.   Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people using major disasters and the holidays to impersonate charities.
 
So how do you protect yourself from holiday scams and make sure your hard-earned money goes where you intended it to?  Here are some suggestions:
 
•  Pay close attention to what you click on. While you're doing your shopping online, remember, be vigilant.   It's an opportunity for someone to come into our personal space and take advantage of those situations so it's really important to pay attention and realize you can't let your guard down.
 
•  Make sure you are donating to recognized charities. One of the most common scams is to slightly change the name of the organization. For example, the Red Cross becomes The Red Cross or redcross.com instead of the correct redcross.org. Take your time reading the request or looking at the website to make sure you have the true organization before you make a donation.
 
•  Never send cash through the mail or make a wire transfer. Instead make your payment by check or any other method that provides additional documentation of the gift.  Many reputable organizations now allow donations through third party networks helping to protect your financial information.
 
Tax Tip:  For gifts of less than $250, the IRS requires you to keep a receipt from the organization that has the date and amount of gift as well as the name and address of the organization receiving the gift. You can also save documentation such as a cancelled check or a bank or credit card statement, your payroll deduction record or cell phone bill if you are using an alternate method of contribution.
 
 
This newsletter does not constitute tax, legal, accounting or other professional advice. We attempt to be accurate, but neither we nor any other party shall be held liable for loss or damages resulting from reliance upon or use of this material. © 2013 The Peoples Community Bank