No doubt, the holidays are a magical season. Unfortunately, they also offer scammers all types of opportunities to steal your money and your personal information. Don’t fall for their tricks — here are four holiday scams you should be aware of.
Criminals know that during Christmas people are more inclined to make donations and use this fact to their advantage. As you may imagine, in a charity scam fraudsters impersonate a legitimate institution in order to get you to give them money.
Some ways to avoid this scheme include researching a charity before donating, and remembering that you should never donate to a charity by wiring money or by gift card. Some red flags, like a person trying to pressure you into donating should put you instantly on high alert.
Non-Delivery and Non-Payment Scams
According to the FBI, these are the two most common holiday scams. A non-delivery scam occurs when you purchase products online that are never delivered. In non-payment scams, on the other hand, products are shipped or services are rendered but the provider is never paid.
To avoid these scams, use only reputable websites. Remember that criminals are very skilled at creating fake websites that look legitimate. To spot potentially dangerous websites, pay attention to details, such as typos, excessive use of exclamation or interrogation marks, and addresses that intend to emulate the name of an established institution (for example, “bfi” instead of “fbi”).
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of people are still planning to travel during the holidays. If that’s your case, beware of fake booking sites and unrequested offers that arrive by email.
As in the case of non-payment scams, keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of spoof websites such as typos, awkward grammar, suspicious URLs, generic greetings (such as “Hi, Dear”), fake invoices, and requests to download files attached to the email. Remember a simple rule: if an offer or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Cybercriminals go to great lengths in order to fool unsuspecting victims. This includes creating fake apps that look legitimate but are built with one purpose in mind: to steal your personal and financial information. To avoid this scam, download any shopping app directly from the website of the retailer. This way you can make sure that you are using a legitimate app.