Avoid Scams Around The Holidays

The holidays are usually a time of giving, but some scammers are working to make it a time of stealing. Newschannel 6 is looking out for you, going to the experts to find out what you need to do to stay safe this time of year.

Crooks are coming from all angles, but especially online. "We are seeing a lot of phishing emails come through," said Monica Horton, Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau of North Central Texas.

Phishing is where crooks try to steal your personal information by tricking you into thinking you are dealing with a reputable brand. This week, a common plot has been to use the names of UPS or FedEx. "The phishing emails look very authentic; they've hijacked the UPS logo or the FedEx logo so they look good," said Horton.

If you get an email and click anything in it, you open yourself up to fall victim. "Don't click on any links. Don't click on any attachments; go back to your original order confirmation and get in touch with them that way," she said.

On this Cyber Monday, you need to beware of anything that sounds too good to be true. "Don't let those types of things cloud your judgment. If its an in demand toy its not going to be out there for an unusually low price these are usually con artists trying to steal your money," said Horton.

The BBB is also speaking out about charitable giving. Below is information, provided by the BBB, about how to make sure your generosity is used effectively.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6

From the BBB Bureau Briefs Information:

Because of technology and the creativity of charities, there are many different ways that donors can give to a worthy cause. Whether you're giving money, canned goods, used items or your time, BBB reminds donors that how you give is just as important as what you give.

BBB offers the following five common ways that people can donate to charities over the holidays and a few things to consider: 

· Give items. Whatever you're donating, make sure the items are of good condition and that the recipient charity is accepting such items to help further its cause.

· Give when you shop.  This type of cause-related marketing means that you can help while you shop. Make sure the promotion identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase price the charity will receive. Also some businesses, like grocery stores, ask if you want to donate to a charity and have that amount added to your receipt (also called embedded giving).  See if the embedded promotion states which specific charity will receive the collected funds.

· Give online.  Giving online with a credit or debit card is among the most efficient ways to support a charity. Before you enter in your numbers, give the web site a thorough review.

· Give through text messaging. After texting a message to a number, the donation is tacked on to your cell phone bill.  While donating via text is fast and easy for the donor, the actual money can take 60 - 90 days to reach the charity since the funds are forwarded after you pay the donation charge on your next monthly cell phone bill. 

· Give your time.  In today's tight economy, you may not have money, but you can always give a little of your time to help support a worthy cause.