Beware of the Biggest Online Holiday Scams
With the holidays in full swing and seasonal shopping at its peak, law enforcement is warning consumers about cybercriminals who are looking for opportunities to take advantage of your Christmas spirit. With people spending more time than ever online this year, cybercriminals are working harder than ever to scam consumers out of their money and personal information.
In response, officials are calling for people to practice more vigilance to protect themselves from scams. Let’s look at some of the most major scams affecting consumers this year so you can ensure your holiday season stays jolly.
Holiday Charity Scams
This is the season for giving, but many cyber thieves are taking advantage of people’s good nature to trick them into giving money to fake charities. These scams can come from a variety of sources, including email campaigns, crowdfunding websites, and fake websites and accounts on social media platforms, often impersonating real charitable organizations. These scams also may claim to represent food pantries or gift-giving organizations there to help the needy over the holidays.
Social Media Shopping Scams
Consumers are likely to see social media posts this holiday season promising vouchers and gift cards often for participating in a contest or promotion. In some cases, these may appear to come from friends you know sharing a link to take part in it. However, what these scams are really designed to do is steal your personal information. If you do decide to click on one of these links, make sure you check whether or not the website is legitimate before you give it any personal information, including credit card numbers.
Shoppers are used to coming across sales during the holiday season but make sure you approach deals that look too good to be true with some caution. Scammers will often craft advertisements and phishing emails that appear to offer popular merchandise at amazingly low prices or come with gift cards to try and tempt you to reply. However, if you receive a product at all, these are often stolen or a cheap replica of the product. Another common scheme is to offer merchandise at a well-known website; however, the link will actually take you to a fake version of the website that will steal any personal information you give it.
Holiday Delivery Scams
During the holiday season, packages are flying all over the country, and most of us have more than one on the way. Scammers know this and have been sending out phishing emails pretending to be major shipping providers. These emails impersonate service notifications for tracking packages or of missed deliveries with links leading to fake sign-in pages; these webpages will request personally identifying information or simply be laced with malware.
With the holiday season underway, cyber thieves are working their hardest to steal your money and personal information. If you come across any of these scams, remember to practice caution and never give out personal information unless you can verify that a website is trustworthy.