Seems Legit: 5 Ways to Avoid Fraud This Holiday Season

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Nov. 21, 2019
By Chris Burgess, Senior Director, Financial Services, Walmart

We’ve all seen the posts on social media: “Click this link for a chance to win $1,000!” Every day, it seems like there’s a new pitfall to avoid. Unfortunately, consumers lose more than $1 billion each year to scams.

Fraud is especially prevalent during the holidays, when people are more likely to shop online or answer their phones. With that in mind, here are some best practices to keep you and your loved ones secure this season. Share them with your parents, grandparents or that *one* friend who always shares sketchy offers on social media:

  1. Don’t trust caller ID or email names. Fraudsters often prey on people’s trust in loved ones and familiar brands. Scammers can spoof their phone numbers and email addresses to convince victims of their legitimacy.
  2. Don’t give out personal information. Some scams mimic a bank or other reputable entity and ask people to verify personal information to unlock an account or receive a payment. Call an official phone number or visit the company’s website to confirm information provided over the phone.
  3. Be suspicious of quick money-making schemes. Many scams ask victims to make an advance payment in promise of a big return, such as an inheritance or prize. Scammers often request payment via money transfers and gift cards.
  4. Protect digital information. Be wary of “too good to be true” offers; these may come from fraudulent websites trying to obtain payment information or other personal identifying information. A dodgy site might try to use the Walmart logo without permission; check the website’s legitimacy by looking for the secure “https” tag and verifying the URL is spelled correctly. Consumers should also change passwords often and use a secured wireless connection for online shopping.
  5. Keep up-to-date on common scams and tactics. Fraudsters often use fear and intimidation to create a sense of urgency. They may insist the victim owes money to the government or pose as a loved one in trouble. Consumers should know that no legitimate government entity, including the IRS, Treasury Department, FBI or local police department, will accept any form of gift cards as payment. Also, other businesses do not accept payments in the form of Walmart Gift Cards. For example, you will never be legitimately asked to pay your utility bills, bail money, debt collection and hospital bills with Walmart Gift Cards. Staying informed can help you know the signs and recognize a potential scam. Check the Federal Trade Commission and Walmart’s fraud alerts for more information.

Walmart wants to help protect our customers from becoming victims of fraud. This year, we are a proud supporter of International Fraud Awareness Week. From training store and club associates to spot signs of fraud to protecting customer data 24/7, keeping customers safe from fraud is part of our culture of integrity.

Learn more about how you can protect yourself from fraudulent activity and keep things merry and bright this holiday season.