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AARP: Beware of holiday scams

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A new report from the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, is warning seniors to be on the lookout for a number of scams this holiday season.

AARP reports that one of the most common types of scams this year is an online ad that appears to be from legitimate retailers, but by clicking on it connects a potential victim with a scammer looking to steal sensitive information and money.

Another common scam is someone fraudulently claiming to be from the United States Postal Service, FedEx or UPS claiming that a shipping issue has occurred. The message almost always comes with a link.

“Unfortunately, the world that we live in today, there is a criminal scammer around every corner, and it is only worse over the holidays,” said AARP director of fraud prevention programs, Kathy Stokes.

So what other scams are out there right now?

“One that people may not even be aware of is gift cards,” Stokes says “when you give a gift card, or get a gift card, a scammer might be in the middle of it. They can go in to the stores and manipulate the cards.”

Stokes says, to stay safe, by gift cards directly from the retailer and not in places like the grocery store or dollar store. Avoid clicking on online ads or on links from emails and texts as it is fraught with risk; remember that retailers will never contact you about a “problem” and request your login information, and only use peer-to-peer payment services like Venmo with people you know and trust.

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