Beware of Grinches: Red flags to protect your money and identity

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 2:24 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:05 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The holidays are here, and the state’s consumer watchdog group wants you to be beware of Grinches looking to steal your holiday cheer.

Here are some tips on how to protect your money and personal information this holiday season.

With the pandemic, scammers are taking advantage of the supply chain issues, pretending to sell whatever the most popular and difficult items are to get this holiday season. As you’re shopping, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs wants you to watch out for some red flags to protect your money and identity.

  • When a company asks you to pay in uncommon forms like prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire/bank transfer, payment app, or cryptocurrency, that’s a major red flag. Legitimate businesses will never force you to pay one particular way and will accept the safest forms of payment, including credit cards.
  • If you’re being asked to verify your personal information, that’s a red flag. Scammers can use your personal info to open up new accounts. So whether it’s an email, over the phone, or text message, never give private information to a cold-caller. Scammers will also ask for your personal information with fake shipping and delivery notifications too.
  • Just because a website looks polished and professional, doesn’t mean it’s real. Websites are easy to create and often use names similar to legitimate websites. Search the website’s name online for complaints or try to find a physical address or phone number to confirm it’s legit.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before you purchase anything, do a little homework. You can always go to the SC Department of Consumer Affairs website to check it out.

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