Watch Out for Holiday Scams
The holidays are fast approaching, and along with all the holiday cheer, comes more fraud. We should always be on the lookout for fraud, but during the holidays we can become more susceptible to various schemes like: phishing and social engineering scams, charity scams, travel scams, delivery scams, gift card scams and many more.
Phishing and Social engineering scams are when a fraudster impersonates your financial institution, or other business to trick you into sharing your account credentials, which are later used for an account takeover. If you receive a phone call from someone you do not believe to be from your financial institution hang up and immediately call the number on your bank’s website.
Charity Scams can happen when a person creates a fake charity and pockets the donation, or they use a popular charity’s name and create a fake website to get money. The best was to avoid these are to always verify the validity of a charity through the IRS webpage: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/.
Delivery scams become a bigger problem during the holiday season due to that fact that most consumers are shopping online for their holiday gifts. Scammers send out phishing emails disguised as UPS, FedEx or U.S. Postal Service notifications of incoming or missed deliveries. Links lead to phony sign-in pages asking for personal information, or to sites infested with malware. The best way to avoid these is to never click on links in an email and go directly to the webpage yourself.
Tips to avoid holiday scams:
- Hover your mouse over links in emails and social media ads to display the true destination URL, and click through only if you’re certain it’s a legitimate site.
- Pay by credit card for online purchases. This makes it easier to dispute charges and limit the damage if it turns out you were scammed.
- Research retailers, travel, and charity sites online before making purchases or donations.
- Buy gift cards directly from the retailer in-store. Make sure to check the cards for signs of tampering, which could mean a thief has accessed the card’s PIN code and can drain its value as soon as someone buys and loads it.
- Don’t make purchases while using public wifi.
- Don’t make purchases through a website if they only accept wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid cards as a form of payment.
And lastly, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.