Holiday Scams To Avoid To Keep The Cheer In Your Holiday
The holidays and shopping season are in full swing, and that means that holiday fraudsters are ready and raring to go. The holidays are supposed to be a time for cheer, but scammers will try to take advantage of shoppers in a variety of ways. This post will help you identify common holiday scams to watch out for as we continue through the holiday season.
Top 10 Holiday Scams To Watch Out For This Year
- Free Vouchers & Gift Cards
According to the Credit Union Times, a very common Internet scam involves discounts on gift cards. Commonly, scammers will request that you enter personal information, and in return, will promise discounted gift cards. With this technique, scammers are able to get just enough information from you to raid your bank account.
- Offers On Social Media
There will be many social media posts that offer fake vouchers and gift cards. Many of these offers will be paired with a holiday promotion or contest, and some of these promotions may even be shared by your friends and family members. Many times these posts will lead you to a survey where you are asked to disclose personal information. Do not fall for this, and do not under any circumstance complete the survey.
Be aware of scareware. Scareware is fake antivirus software that tricks you into thinking that your computer is at risk, or already infected with a virus. Do not download this software for any reason. If you think that your computer may be infected, make sure to contact a reputable source such as the Geek Squad at Best Buy.
- Holiday Screensavers
Many people may want to download holiday-themed screen savers on their personal devices, however; according to McAfee there have been increased instances of Santa screensavers with 3D imagery that can be malicious and allow scammers to hack into your personal computer.
The holidays are prime time for phishing scams. One common holiday phishing scam is a fake notice from UPS that states you have a package. This phony notice will require you to fill out a form to get it delivered. The form may ask for personal or financial information, which will go directly into the hands of the scammer. If you receive a notice from your financial institution stating that you need to change your password, or that your account has been compromised, make sure to call your financial institution directly. Do not click on any links, or enter your credit card information online or over the phone.
SMS phishing is also a major concern around the holidays. Fraudsters send fake text messages to alert you that your bank account has been compromised, and request that you call a phone number to get it re-activated. The scammer then collects your personal information and is able to access your account.
- Online Coupon Scams
Watch out for coupon offers that are too good to be true. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pay special attention to coupons that offer free Apple watches, iPads, and tablets. Make sure the offers are from reputable, legitimate companies.
- Phony Refund Scams
You may receive a fake refund scam from a retailer or hotel stating that there was an “incorrect transaction,” and ask that you click on a link to be refunded. Do not click this. Instead of being provided a refund, your computer will be infected with malware.
- Malicious E-Cards
Watch out for E-greeting cards, even if they come from someone you know. Many of the E-cards are malicious and can infect your computer with viruses.
- Charity Tricksters
Many of us feel especially generous during the holiday season, and fraudsters will take advantage of this. Be careful of the sites that you donate to, and make sure that any contributions you make are legitimate charities. If you are unsure, contact the charity directly to make sure that the request did come from them. As a rule of thumb, only donate to the charities that you know about, and deny the rest.
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