WACO, TX (FOX 44) – The year is winding down as families get ready for Halloween and soon the holiday season.
Temple Police Department financial crimes investigator Kevin Garelick says his caseload nearly doubles up to sixty cases a month during the holiday season for scams.
He says most of them are online.
“False advertisement shopping. Make sure that you are aware of the internet sites that you’re going to in order to do an online site purchase,” said Garelick.
Garelick says websites ending in “.org” or “.net” can be trouble.
These pages can be made by private organizations using fake information.
To ensure business websites ending in “.com” are reliable, Garelick says to check spelling and how the website works.
“When you go to a web site to make a purchase and you click on the different areas of the website to browse through the website, make sure that they take you to where you want to go and not just looping you back to the homepage,” said Garelick. “A lot of times that will tell you whether a website is fraudulent.”
With credit card scams affecting all ages, Hewitt police chief Jim Devlin says seniors are specifically targeted by fake charities.
“Because of that pressure that these scammers put on them, there’s this major problem taking place and folks just want to get that corrected and taken care of and ultimately they get their information,” said Devlin. “They either take several thousands or $30-$40,000, we’ve seen scams where people have had a lot and has lost that amount of money.”
If organizations request your credit card information or want payment in gift cards or money transfer, Devlin says its a scam and to call local authorities.
“We caution folks to make sure that they reach out to whoever they want to donate. Don’t just click on a link that comes to your email asking for donations and has a hyperlink because nine times out of ten that’s going to be a scam,” said Devlin. “Most places may notify you that they’re looking for donations, but there won’t be necessary link to go to that location.”
For seniors looking to donate, Devlin says its best to give to local charities.