It Pays to Be Wary of Holiday Scams

Bogus charity solicitations, copycat websites and fake shipping offers – thieves often take advantage of the gift-giving season to line their own pockets. But with a few precautions, you can avoid falling victim to these common scams.

Bogus Charities: If you receive an email, postal mail piece or phone call from a charity soliciting donations, before you give, look up the charity on a website that reviews charitable organizations, such as or If you receive a request to donate to a crowdfunding site, such as, do not donate to anyone you don’t know, no matter how compelling their story is.

Copycat Websites and Phishing Email: Each year, more and more people buy their gifts online. But be wary of amazing deals you’ll find on social media, in your emails or through web searches. Many websites appear to be legitimate and offer great savings on popular products but are just set up to get your information. Misspellings and typos are telltale signs of fraudulent marketing materials.

In email, always hover your cursor over the sender’s web address to reveal the actual URL. Also type the URL directly into your browser rather than clicking on it and make sure all payment pages have an “s” after http in the URL to ensure the page is secure.

Shipping Scams: To avoid falling victim to shipping scams, always go directly to the shipping company’s website to track your orders. Do not trust emails or postal mail pieces claiming there is a problem with your shipment and requesting a credit card number to ensure your package is delivered. And remember, legitimate delivery people will never come to your door and request payment or a credit card number to ensure delivery of a package.

If you’re ever in doubt about any offer, it’s best to talk to someone you trust or search for product reviews, warnings and related scams online. Also, consider how you pay for goods and services. Credit cards typically have built-in fraud protection. You can also sign up to receive regular alerts about scams at

First State wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!



This commentary is provided to you by: First State Financial Services
**First State Financial Services and First State Bank Nebraska are not affiliated with Securities America companies.  Not FDIC Insured, May Lose Value, No Bank Guarantee, Not A Deposit, Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency.