Common Scams to Watch for After the Holidays

The mad holiday rush may be over, but scammers aren’t slowing down. The post-holiday weeks bring an increase in scams that, unfortunately, are quite believable during this time of year. Don’t be the victim of a post-holiday scam!

Read on to learn about the common ways fraudsters seek to dupe consumers after the holidays:

Gift-picking. You may be targeted by thieves who are looking for a good picking if you’re the recipient of an expensive gift. Protect yourself by keeping your gift under wraps. Dismantle all packaging representing your gift. Discard it in a covered trash or recycling bin instead of leaving it at the curb. 

Charity scams. Be wary when giving to charity this time of year. Don’t donate to any organization without first checking it out on a vetting website like CharityNavigator.com. If you have a favorite cause, contact them yourself instead of clicking on an ad that appears to represent them. 

Under priced gifts for sale. Be suspicious of private sellers offering gift items at crazy-low prices; they are likely to be scams. Proceed with caution if a sale item appears legit. Don’t rely on just email communication. Instead, get the seller’s phone number and street address. If possible, ask for references and pictures of the item. Arrange to meet the seller in a well-lit, populated area if everything checks out. Finally, never wire money online—let the cash and item change hands at the same time. 

Belated holiday e-cards. Too often, e-cards are ridden with malware. The e-card may bear the name of your friend, but scammers can easily pick names off the internet. All authentic e-cards include a confirmation code for you to copy and paste at the issuing website. 

Post-holiday ‘sales.’ Your social media platforms may be exploding with ads offering deeply discounted prices at your favorite stores. While some of these ads may be legit, lots are scams. Here’s how to spot the fake ads: 

  • The URL is off by one letter. Check each landing page as you make a purchase.

  • The site is not secure. Look for the “s” after the “http.”

  • The words “deals” or “discounts” are part of the URL. Authentic retailers rarely create new websites just to sell sale items.

  • Look for the seller’s genuine store logo on every landing page.

Post-holiday scams are everywhere, but by knowing how to spot a scam places you one step ahead of the criminals. Stay alert and stay safe by using the credit union’s mobile products that can protect you from fraud. Call 330-364-8874 or stop by your closest DoverPhila Federal Credit Union location for more information.

DoverPhila Gives Back to Youth Members and the Community

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

The holidays came early for DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s youngest members and its local Salvation Army.

On December 7, the credit union gave a $10 holiday gift to its DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members – over 1,400 youth. The $14,000 amount was matched and then donated to the Salvation Army of Tuscarawas County.

The Salvation Army is a global and local organization that consists of dedicated staff and committed volunteers that work every day within communities to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond those basic needs, The Salvation Army invests time in the human spirit by offering counseling, education programs, recovery/support programs, and spiritual support for those willing to accept it.

“Today’s youth is our community’s future. It is our fiscal responsibility to build a strong community and to best serve our members,” said Jack Dooling, Chief Executive Officer and President of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union. “What better way to do that than by rewarding youth members for taking the initiative to be financially responsible while also giving back to an organization that is dedicated to serving that same community.”

The credit union is proud to offer specialized savings accounts that are designed for youth ages 17 and under. DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver accounts encourage members to adopt healthy financial habits at an early age. The accounts offer no annual fees, competitive interest rates, and dividends to teach youth that saving money always pays. Each DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver member also has access to newsletters, contests, saving incentives, exclusive events, and more.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union has been proudly serving the financial needs of its members and community for 65 years. It has offices in Dover, New Philadelphia, Newcomerstown, and Uhrichsville. Those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Tuscarawas County can become a member of the credit union with a simple $5 deposit. Visit www.dpfcu.org for more information.

5 Scams to Avoid on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great fun – but they can also put you at great risk. Scams abound on the weekend that heralds the holiday shopping season, and you don’t want a phishing scheme or a bogus bargain to turn you into a Grinch. 

Here are five scams to look out for as you brave the frenzied crowds while trying to snag the best deals after Thanksgiving. 

1. BOGUS CRAZY DEALS 
An iPhone X retailing at just $12? A pair of Ugg boots for $9? These deals sound insane because they are. And yet, thousands of people fall for these scams. And, of course, once the scammers have your credit card information, they’ll use it for their own shopping spree – on your dime. 

Be smarter: Don’t believe any advertised price that is ridiculously low. 


2. GIFT CARDS FOR CHEAP 
In the weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might see an explosion of gift cards being sold at online marketplaces for a fraction of their real value. These cards are usually stolen from their real owners, who will likely report them lost. The card will be disabled and you’ll have spent your money on a worthless piece of plastic. 

Be smarter: Don’t buy any super-cheap gift cards 


3. BAIT AND SWITCH
 
Want to win a brand new iPhone X? Just fill out a form with your personal details, and you might be the lucky winner! Your personal details and a site whose authenticity you can’t verify are two things that should never meet. The sweepstakes is just the scammer’s bait to get at your information. 

“Bait and switch” scams can happen offline. Retailers advertise deals so amazing that you’ll find yourself travelling across town to grab the bargains. Once you reach the store, though, you’ll be told those items are sold out, but you can check out what they do have in stock. You may be offered similar, but inferior, products and cheap knockoffs, or nothing you’re interested in at all. These scams are a waste of your time and money. 

Be smarter: Don’t enter any sweepstakes or believe advertisements for heavily marked-down prices on sites and stores you’re unfamiliar with. 


4. DELIVERY PROBLEMS
 
If you receive an email claiming there’s been a problem with the delivery of one of your purchases, be wary. You may be asked to click on a link or download an attachment to arrange an alternative delivery date. Ignore these emails; they’re likely to be scams. If you have a problem with the delivery of your purchase, contact the seller or company directly. 

Be smarter: Never download anything or click on a link from an unverifiable source. 


5. WIRE TRANSFERS
This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, use your credit card. It offers you the most protection against purchases that don’t turn out to be what you expected. A debit card can be a good choice, too, if you’re only shopping at stores and sites you trust and frequent often. 

Never agree to an online purchase demanding payment via money order or wire transfer. These are favorites among scammers since they are similar to paying with cash – once the money has changed hands, there’s almost no way you can get it back. 

Be smarter: When frequenting unfamiliar stores and sites, use your credit card. 

Be an educated shopper this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and outsmart scammers!

Surviving the Holidays with Your Sanity Intact

With crowded stores and an ever-growing list of people to shop for, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to overspend on your holiday shopping. No worries, though; we’ve got you covered! Read on for pre-and post-holiday tips and have yourself a jolly December without breaking the bank.

 6 Pre-Holidays Tips

1. Revise your gift list
Chances are, lots of the people you exchange gifts with would be relieved to be taken off your list. Talk to co-workers and acquaintances about just exchanging cards this year, or make a deal to only exchange homemade or inexpensive gifts. This way, you can focus on buying special gifts for those closest to you instead of generic gifts for everyone you’ve ever met.

2. Organize a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa
Still got a mile-long list? Try one of these creative solutions! A Yankee Swap or a Secret Santa activity saves money and stress while adding a bit of intrigue to any party. Everyone involved only needs to bring a single gift – and it’s always fun. Set a reasonable price cap on gifts so no one walks out with a candy cane while the person next to them hauls off a flat-screen TV.

3. Bake holiday treats
Reduce the financial weight of the season by whipping up your own holiday treats instead of buying gifts. It’s hard to find the perfect gift, but no one turns down a tin of homemade holiday cookies!

4. Make a budget and stick to it
We all plan to stick to a budget this holiday season – make this the year it really happens. Set an absolute limit to how much you will spend on the holidays.  This will encourage you to plan your spending rather than grabbing impulse items as you shop.

5. Make use of holiday deals….but don’t get distracted
When prices drop, we sometimes go wild, snatching up random items because we don’t want to miss out on those “crazy, low holiday prices.” Make use of these deals by buying items on your list at a discounted price – but don’t buy things you don’t need.

6. Rethink giving
Instead of running to the mall again, think of other ways you can give that will make the world a better place and truly brighten someone’s holiday. It’s the perfect time of year to volunteer at local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and charity organizations.

2 Post-Holiday Tips

1. Use those gift cards
Gift cards are a typical holiday gift, but they’re often forgotten and unused. Put your gift cards in your wallet and spend them creatively.  If you’re not a fan of on-the-go coffee, use your Starbucks gift card to pick up ground coffee beans to use at home.  Rent a movie with your iTunes card.  Whatever it might be, just use those gift cards!

2. Re-gift
You’ll probably wind up with a bunch of gifts you don’t want.  Hold onto them; many gifts can be re-gifted next year or used as birthday gifts throughout the year.