While the COVID pandemic is still lingering, many people are eager to celebrate with loved ones and kick off the festivities. Not only is the pandemic lingering, but so are holiday scams. Unfortunately, scams are in full swing as scammers seek to take advantage of your holiday routines. As you look forward to the holidays, it’s important that you don’t fall victim to these scams.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from holiday scams.
Popular Holiday Scams
The following are some of the most popular holiday scams to be on the lookout for.
Travel scams: There are many adults in the United States who are planning to travel during the holidays. With that being said, scammers use fake booking sites and email offers with great travel deals that look too good to pass up. Be careful of travel offers that look too good to be true. These phony travel sites are set up to get your personal information.
Fake delivery notices: With holiday items shipping across the country, scammers know that you’re likely to receive packages this season. Scammers send out phishing emails that look like they’re coming from major carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS. You may see a failed delivery notice with a link that leads to fake sign-in pages so that you can reveal your personal information. Before giving out your information online, it’s best to go to your local post office to verify the delivery notification.
Charity scams: Phony charities tend to appear during the holidays. You may receive phone calls or leaflets from companies that have familiar-sounding names that ask for your card information for a so-called good cause. Don’t open your wallet to any charitable organization that you did not initiate contact with.
Public Wi-Fi: Scammers often target coffee shop customers, hotel patrons, and other public Wi-Fi users. They initiate pop-up requests for unsuspecting consumers to install a foreign program before they’re able to connect to a network. The program is meant to steal your personal information, which is another reason why using public Wi-Fi to access your bank accounts and other sensitive information is not a good idea.
Gift Card Scams
Gift card scams: You should be wary if someone asks you to purchase gift cards for them, especially during the holiday season. With scams like these, consumers receive a fake phone call, text, or email asking them to purchase multiple gift cards for business or personal use.
Warning Signs to Look For
The following are warning signs to look out for so that you can protect yourself:
- A travel or shopping website that does not disclose an address or phone number for the business and your only way to get in contact with them is by email or the website contact form.
- You receive an unsolicited email that requests that you download an app or click on a link to schedule a delivery or access a deal.
How to Protect Yourself from Holiday Scams
With these tips, you can avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams this season.
Use Samsung Pay or Apple Pay
Leaving your wallet at home is the best way to ensure your card doesn’t get skimmed or stolen. Use Samsung Pay or Apple Pay from your phone. Just make sure you know where it is at all times.
Never Leave Checks in Your Mailbox
It’s fairly easy for thieves to steal items out of an unsecured mailbox. To ensure safety, hand outgoing checks directly to the postal carrier or drop them off at your local post office branch.
Charitable Donations Should Be Made Directly
Make all of your charitable donations directly instead of through a middleman. Also, make sure that you pay by check or with credit card, and avoid using cash whenever possible.
Don’t Give Your Card Number When Receiving a Call or Email to Confirm a Purchase
If you believe a merchant is trying to contact you, you should initiate a phone call or email to the company directly. The real card issuers would never need you to give them your card number.
What You Should Do If You’re a Scam Victim
The following actions should be taken if you’re a victim of a scam:
- Immediately get in contact with your financial institution once you discover suspicious or fraudulent activity.
- File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center and provide all pertinent information in your complaint.
- Request that your financial institution contacts the other financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent.
For more information regarding fraudulent activities and scams, follow Anti Fraud News. We regularly report on the latest scams to help you avoid being a victim of one.