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Local News

During holiday crunch, fraud awareness data raises concerns


Mike Moen

Consumer advocates warned more people report being targeted by scammers as key information to protect their financial identity is not always getting through, and a Wisconsin expert hopes holiday shoppers take note.

A new AARP national survey revealed in the past year, 52% of those surveyed said they have received a false notification about a package shipment issue, which is nearly double from the previous year.

Courtney Anclam, senior program specialist for AARP Wisconsin, said a fraud knowledge quiz associated with the survey showed a disconnect in what to look out for.

“Especially when you talk about ads on social media, it’s sometimes really difficult to discern if that’s real or not,” Anclam pointed out. “The landscape is always shifting; people are maybe not keeping up as much as they should be on some of those new tactics.”

Only 28% of the quiz respondents answered most questions correctly. Anclam acknowledged many people do not have time to research the latest warnings. But she cautioned scammers prey on busy schedules this time of year. For online shopping, she suggested looking up the company name with the words “scam” and “fraud” to see if concerns pop up in the internet search.

And when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, Anclam added getting gift cards requires some extra attention. 

“Just making sure that gift cards haven’t been tampered with,” Anclam urged. “Before you purchase it, you can see the PIN number on the back when it should be covered, and stuff like that.” 

Other tips include being suspicious of huge discounts on hot gift items, especially when they are promoted on social media. And if you plan to travel this holiday season, AARP recommends being wary of websites pretending to be legitimate hotels, airlines and other related businesses. 

Disclosure: AARP Wisconsin contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

This article is republished from Public News Service under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.