Financial scams target holiday shoppers, small businesses

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

SAN ANTONIO – Financial fraud and business experts are warning consumers and entrepreneurs to have a little skepticism this holiday season and be cautious when they get a text, email, or a deal that seems too good to be true.

Stephanie Scheller, founder of Grow Disrupt, said thieves will use the holidays as an opportunity to separate consumers from their money or identity.

“More scams are going to pop up this time of year because people are strained,” she said. “They’re hurried. They’re stressed out. They tend to fall for scams more this time of year.”

A popular trend Scheller has noticed with small businesses is clients who place large orders but offer to pay with a gift card or a credit card name or billing address that doesn’t match the shipping address. She says it’s best to call the customer to probe them for more information to double-check that the credit card number isn’t stolen.

Scheller warns not to click on any text or email links. She said thieves are counting on a victim’s fear to trick them.

“When you get something that comes in that just — if your gut goes off, just take two seconds and look at it again,” she said. “Like we said, don’t click on anything. The link comes in, the text comes in, the email comes in — don’t click. Just don’t. Reach out to your provider directly.”

Nigel Leblanc with Cyber Warrior Network said creating strong passwords, updating your operating systems, and being alert are good starting points to stay safe online.

“Beware of deals that just seem like, you know, they’re too good to be true,” he said. “If it’s not a website that you’re familiar with, you probably want to do some research about that before you go in shopping.”

KSAT Community hosted a Financial Scams Townhall this week. Click here to hear from experts in the financial field, San Antonio police and the Better Business Bureau on how to spot scams.

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.