By Tim Kowols
With more people heading online to do their holiday shopping and giving, law enforcement officials are renewing their calls to make sure you keep a careful eye on your monthly statements. According to CNBC, a record $6.59 billion was spent on Cyber Monday while Blackbaud, Inc. says 7,200 non-profit collected a record $60.9 million in donations during Giving Tuesday. In both cases, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski suggests only trusting reputable stores and organization to avoid possible credit card scams.
Joski encourages people to shop and give locally to give businesses and the people benefitting from area non-profit organizations a boost. You can visit the Sheriff’s Corner on this topic online with this story.
SHERIFF’S CORNER WITH MATT JOSKI
Now that we are through the Thanksgiving Holiday as well as the Gun Deer Season, it is the time when our attention shifts to preparation for Christmas and New Years Eve. By all accounts both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been a huge success for most retailers and will hopefully provide them the revenue they rely upon to end their fiscal year on a positive note.
As always, I am a big supporter of shopping locally, not just because of the boost to the local economy, but also because you are less susceptible to fraud or scams. If you do find yourself shopping the old fashion way by going from store to store, make sure you keep the items you have already purchased out of sight. When purchasing with your credit or debit card keep it in sight as well. One of the common themes that run through the various credit card scams is that the card left the sight of the purchaser at some point during the transaction. Once you get home double check your balances to make sure no additional purchases found their way onto the card.
If you are of the new generation of shopping from the home computer, be aware of the risks this poses as well. Make sure you know the websites, or businesses you are purchasing from. Verify that they have a secured way of processing the transaction online. If you are purchasing from individuals online, do not send money until you confirm the delivery of the item. The use of paypal is also a great tool.
Many non- profit organizations use the holiday season to solicit funding. Again I would advise “Give Locally” this not only guarantees that your generosity will reach your neighbors, but will also limit your exposure to the risk of fraud or scams. If you receive a call for donations, and you are not sure of the source, asking for a call back number or follow up mailing will generate one of two things. If it is legitimate they will more than gladly assist in any questions you may have. If it is not legitimate you will probably be met with an abrupt hang up. Your persistence in demanding more information may make the difference between becoming a victim or not. Thank you to all who give of both their resources as well as their time during this season of giving!