By Tim Kowols
Santa is checking his list twice, so Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is asking shoppers to do the same with their credit card statements. Thanksgiving weekend online spending topped the $20 billion last year according to PracticaleCommerce.com while the Non-Profit Times says over $274 million was donated on “Giving Tuesday.” Coupled with shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores, Joski says people should take a time out from their holiday shopping to make sure the numbers add up.
Joski also encourages people to shop and give locally so they make sure their generosity reaches their neighbors and to limit their exposure to fraud and scams. You can read the rest of Sheriff Matt Joski’s piece on holiday shopping online with this story.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
As we celebrate Thanksgiving and wind down the Gun Deer Season, our thoughts will soon turn to holiday shopping. For many this has become as much of a tradition as the holidays themselves with coordinated shopping trips in the early morning hours of black Friday in search of those elusive deals. For others it may be the tradition of shopping at their favorite retailer and combining it with other favorite family activities. Regardless of how you decide to shop, be aware of the potential risks to both your property as well as your identity.
Personally 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!