November 21, 2023
It’s the holiday season, and you’ve likely already started advertising your holiday loan special. Now it’s time to make sure your members’ money is safe, and they’re getting what they pay for. Here are some holiday shopping safety tips to share with your membership to help them avoid scams.
It’s so tempting when an ad pops up on your Facebook, advertising that gift you’ve been looking into online. Especially when it’s suddenly “on sale!” The more you use your phone, or whichever device you use on social media, the more you’ll start receiving targeted ads like this. Although some may be legitimate, the safer route is to avoid these ads altogether and search on websites you already know and trust.
Encourage your members to use their credit cards when shopping online. This way, if they don’t receive their order or if the purchase turns out to be a scam, they can more easily dispute the charge. If you wire money, use a gift card, or send cash, there is far less of a guarantee that you’ll be able to get your money back if something goes wrong. Using secure purchasing methods is one of the best holiday shopping safety tips you can provide your membership.
Scammers have gotten really good at feeding on human impulses. They keep up with what’s trending and in high demand. Make sure your members know that some offers are too good to be true. If you see an ad for a trending item that’s suddenly 30 – 60% off, hit the brakes! Ask yourself, have any businesses offered this big of a discount before? Is this a company I’m familiar with and I know sells this item? Is this ad on an official company website, or is it a pop-up or social media ad? Always confirm a sale by visiting a trusted website before making a purchase.
We all know shopping small helps your local economy, but it also helps you avoid getting scammed! Visiting local businesses and privately owned shops provides the option to dispute a purchase in person. You can return an item and explain your decision face-to-face with the seller. You’re also less likely to need to return an item because you got to witness the quality firsthand instead of simply relying on pictures and customer reviews.
Encourage your members to shop small this holiday season to support their neighbors and avoid fraud all at the same time.
Before big in-store shopping days like Black Friday or local shopping events, remind your members to carry their money securely. If they need or want to use cash, only carry the amount needed for the sale item. In crowded places, you’ll want to bring only the most secure forms of payment, like credit cards. The best action plan would be to bring just one or two credit cards and keep them in your wallet/purse when not in use. If you have cash in your back pocket, a credit card in your wallet, and checks in your purse, it’s harder to keep track of all your assets, and you’re more prone to losing something or having something stolen.
Everyone wants to save money, and buying items second-hand is a great way to do that! Encourage marketplace shoppers to search for listings close to home so they can see the item and finalize purchases in person. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t assume all online marketplace posts are legitimate. Paying using a mobile payment app like Venmo isn’t recommended because there’s no guarantee the item exists.
Insist on meeting the seller in person, examining the item, then paying in cash. It’s also a good idea to bring someone you trust for extra security. If the seller has malicious motives, they are less likely to play them out if there’s someone in your passenger seat.
Shopping via trusted websites, using a credit card when possible, and avoiding impulse purchases are some of the best holiday shopping safety tips you can offer your credit union members. Also, encourage your membership to purchase locally and shop small this holiday season and year-round to experience more secure and satisfactory transactions.