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Blog: Educate yourself to stop scammers during holidays

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The holidays are a good time to be thankful for the fruit of one's labor and to strengthen familial relationships.

Unfortunately, scammers see the holidays as an opportunity. The greatest tool to deny them that opportunity is education.

I'm not here to lecture. In the spirit of the holidays, I simply do not want you to get scammed. And I certainly don't want scammers to have a merry Christmas.

Fact-checking websites like Snopes are a good place to start in building your digital education. And the old axiom is almost always true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Such is the case for a scam I saw going around Facebook over the weekend. A post from a Facebook page called Aldi Store was making the rounds, promising free groceries along with a photo of Jason Hart, the retailer's actual CEO, in an effort to make it look official. Included was a nefarious looking link to sign up for the bogus promotion at a website that did not belong to the actual Aldi corporation.

I don't fault those who shared the post. From my perspective, these folks were seeking to help others who may need some aid this holiday season to feed their families.

Scammers look to exploit our emotions, so when on the internet, logic has to be front and center with an eye toward vigilance.

With this particular type of scam, I'd recommend looking at the Facebook page in question. The Aldi Store page, which has since been taken down, only had a couple thousand likes. The real Aldi, which has warned customers of the scam, has millions of likes. If this quick tip doesn't present a clear conclusion, double-check elsewhere. Do a quick Google search for news articles or fact-checking websites.

It's been a difficult year, and silver linings have been hard to come by. I feel a desire to help out my fellow humans, as well, but scammers barely count in that regard. They will forever try to exploit you, and it's up to you to stop them by educating yourself.

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