Do not buy gift cards off the rack and other tips:

What You Should Know from AARP scammer experts:
• Scammers will set up fake websites or mobile apps that mimic those of known and trusted retailers, and offer items at a fraction of the usual cost. Their hope is you won’t notice the red flags (misspelled words, unencrypted websites, lack of information on returns, etc.), and you’ll jump to share your payment information.
• Scammers send fake emails from delivery services about packages being held pending delivery. The email directs you to click on a link that asks for your credit card or other personal information. Since many of us expect deliveries this time of year, it’s easy to catch us off guard.
• Legitimate charities make a big push at year-end for last-minute annual donations. Scammers know this, and make their own end-of-year push to line their pockets. They’re banking on us not taking the time to verify their legitimacy or noticing that the name of the charity isn’t quite right.
• Thieves can hit store gift card racks, scan the numbers off the cards, and then monitor them. As soon as the card is bought and activated, the scammers drain the funds. By the time your gift recipient tries to use the card, the money is long gone.

Sherry Ellis