‘Tis the season for holiday scams. Here’s how to avoid them

‘Tis the season for holiday scams. Here’s how to avoid them

Spend more this holiday season and you might miss out on additional charges on your credit card that you didn’t actually make.

Police say it’s fairly common year-round, but is more common this time of year.

Irene Ahner experienced it firsthand.

Despite living on a farm in Southwest Saskatchewan, she was recently charged with multiple SkipTheDishes food orders in Winnipeg.

“I called the Mastercard company that I deal with and they said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve had a lot of these complaints lately.’ They said they would take that [charge] deducted from my card and these bad purchases would be credited to me,” said Ahner in an interview with on The morning edition Thursday.

Ahner said she was told scammers go through random credit card numbers until one works.

Sergeant Kelley Berting, who works in the Regina Police Service’s financial crimes unit, said what happened to Ahner could happen to anyone who shops online.

“If you think of all the places you can use your credit card and if those sites aren’t as safe as we believe, there’s always a risk with any information shared online,” she said.

HEAR | It’s the time for scammers trying to steal you from your money:

The morning edition – Sask8:37It’s the time for scammers trying to steal your money from you

If you make a lot of purchases, you might miss out on additional charges being pinned on your credit cards — charges you didn’t actually make. One of our listeners noticed some of them. We speak to a Regina Police Sergeant about some of the most common scams.

Avoid unsecured public Wi-Fi networks

Berting said it’s important to check your credit card statements, especially during the holiday season.

She also advised people to avoid public WiFi, which is not secure.

“If you go shopping or go to different places and your phone automatically connects to public Wi-Fi, it’s not password-protected and there’s a huge risk that your information could be accessed through those Wi-Fi sites,” she said.

When shopping online with a cell phone, Berting suggested looking for a lock icon in the URL, which confirms that the network is secure.

She also recommended checking websites for signs that it might be fake. That means paying attention to things like spelling mistakes or other things that might look unusual.

Check gift card barcodes

Berting also warned against gift card scams. In particular, scammers can go into stores that sell gift cards and replace barcodes with others that load money onto their own cards.

“If you’re buying a gift card for Christmas it’s always a really good idea to check the gift card – feel the back and make sure nothing has been added. If it’s paper packaging, make sure it hasn’t been tampered with,” Berting advised.

“Now is the time to be extra vigilant about all these types of scams.”

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