AMAC Magazine - Volume 17 / Issue 6 - NOV/DEC 2023



E vil is everywhere, and this season  when our eyes are glossed with twinkly lights, our voices are filled with laughter, and we ride the high of the holiday spirit  is precisely when scammers weasel their way into our vulnera- ble hearts and strained wallets. Luckily, there are precautions we can take to keep this and every holiday season free from scams and full of joyous and affordable gifts for our loved ones. ARE THE SAVINGS MIRACULOUS OR MALICIOUS? While this season is full of miracles, some gift deals really are just too good to be true. Be on the lookout for counterfeit websites that offer incred- ible sales on popular gifts— especially if everything is steeply discounted. Look for a return policy and contact informa- tion. Phony websites will often leave out return policies and contact information and only provide an email address that goes nowhere. Try and use online payment services that offer protections for fraudulent purchases. You can verify this by contacting your credit card company and other payment providers, such as PayPal.

Not too long ago, at the start of the pandemic, the FTC shut down numerous counterfeit websites that claimed to sell discounted cleaning supplies. While scammers then mone- tized global fear and rampant germaphobia, similar tactics are still used today, with more counterfeit sites popping up

around the holidays each year. HOW CAN WE STAY SAFE?

Ensure every word in the domain is spelled correctly and does not contain extraneous letters or numbers. Any legitimate business will ensure their domains are presented correctly. Also, verifying that the site provides functional contact infor- mation, which is typically found at the bottom of a webpage under “contact us,” can help weed out potential scams. If they do not wish to be contacted, it suggests they do not want to provide a meaningful solution to their customer . . . or that they have something to hide. Extra precautions can be taken by researching the site before placing an order, such as by looking for online customer reviews. Including the word “scam” in the search along with the company’s name is a great way to prompt any relative articles, comments, or claims others have made against the company.

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