NV Attorney General warns of holiday scams, ID theft - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

NV Attorney General warns of holiday scams, ID theft

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Before you head out for last-minute holiday shopping, the office of the Nevada Attorney General has tips to keep you from becoming a scam victim.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto warns that Nevadans must be aware of identity theft, charitable donation scams and text message scams.

"In addition to family fun and shopping outings with loved ones, it is also unfortunately the season for scams," Masto said. "Criminals will take advantage of those with generous hearts and good will this holiday season. Nevadans should be cautious of fraud this time of year and make sure their purchases are made through legitimate businesses and that donations help legitimate organizations."

Among the scams to look out for around the holidays is a text message scam called SMiShing, a combination of "SMS" and "phishing." The scammer will send a text that appears to be from the recipient's bank. The text will inform the person that his or her debit card has been locked and will prod them for debit card number and even Social Security numbers.

The Attorney General recommends the following to avoid scams and identity theft:

  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Thoroughly review all financial statements for any unusual activity. Immediately contact the company if an item looks suspicious.
  • Shred or destroy credit card statements, bills, insurance papers or bank statements before throwing them out.
  • When making a credit card purchase, ask for the carbons if the retailer is not using carbonless forms.
  • Carry only one or two credit cards in your wallet.
  • Do not carry your social security card in your wallet.
  • Be wary of anyone calling to "confirm" personal or financial information. Often, these are criminals trying to obtain those facts under the guise of "confirmation".
  • Share your social security number only when absolutely necessary or when required by law.
  • When creating passwords and PINS, do not use anything that could be discovered easily by thieves.
  • Memorize all your passwords and PINS.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit cards, so you can quickly contact your creditors in case your cards are lost or stolen. Do the same with bank accounts.
  • Never toss ATM and credit card receipts in a public trash container.
  • Watch the mail when you are expecting a new credit card. Immediately contact the issuer if the credit card does not arrive.
  • Avoid paying by credit card if you think the business does not use adequate safeguards to protect your personal information.
  • Be careful before you use a credit card or supply personal information online.

Tips to protect the public from charitable donation scams:

  • Contact an independent organization like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to determine if a charity has a good reputation. You can also check www.givewell.org  and www.charitynavigator.org
  • Never give a charitable contribution in response to a telemarketing call.
  • Decline to give personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations, rather than relying on others who claim in e-mails that they will channel the donation to established groups.

For more information on giving wisely during the holidays visit www.bbb.org.

To report suspected fraud or scams, contact the AG's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 702-486-3132, as well as local law enforcement.

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