The holiday season is here once again. Sadly, the holidays are an ideal time for fraudsters to attempt to steal your identity, money, and holiday cheer. Here are six common scams to look out for during the winter months.
1. Don’t Let Fake Deliveries Be Your Undoing
It can take a lot of work to keep track of every package during the holidays. Scammers know this, making the winter months ideal for a package delivery scam. Scammers claim to be a delivery service. They will share a link or phone number, and then induce the victim to pay a fee or share personal information.
To avoid falling for this scam, never click on suspicious links or call suspicious phone numbers. Always visit the delivery service’s sites directly or contact them through a verifiable phone number or email address.
2. Be Wary of Fake Web Stores
When looking for bargains or hard-to-find gifts, holiday shoppers might run into fake websites or apps that trick them into giving them their credit card information. These scammers will take the information, steal money, and never deliver what they promised.
To avoid this, shop at trusted retailers and do your research when checking out lesser-known online stores. Also, be wary of links that pretend to be popular retailers but have an unusual or misspelled web address—a common sign that the site is a scam.
3. Don’t Purchase Anything Using An Unsecured Connection
Your personal information can still be stolen if you’re shopping via an unsecured connection. Anything you send to an unencrypted website can easily be stolen by cybercriminals snooping on the network—putting your payment information at risk.
To see whether your connection is encrypted, check to the left of the web address. If there’s a closed lock or an “https” next to the URL, you’re secure.
4. Avoid Social Media Scams
Social media scams are a common avenue for fraud. Scammers create fake accounts pretending to be a popular brand, store, or service. Then, they share links to fake websites that pretend to offer deals, tricking you into giving out your personal information.
To avoid this scam, don’t click on suspicious links — just visit the online stores directly to avoid being duped.
5. Don’t Fall For Fake Charities
People feel more generous during the holidays, and unscrupulous criminals take advantage of that through charity scams. No matter whether it’s by email, phone, social media, or mail, whenever a charity appeals for donations, it pays to be cautious.
Research any charities before you donate them, and double-check the charity’s name before sending them money. It also pays to pay charities with credit cards, which offer more fraud protection.
6. Stay Away From Bogus Seasonal Job Offers
The holidays are an ideal time to snag a job. They’re also a great time for scam artists to pretend to be an employer, helping them to steal your bank account, Social Security, or tax information. They also might ask you to buy from a fake store or subject you to a check scam.
Always research an employer before accepting a job offer, and be wary if you’re hired with very little interview process. If you’re hired on the spot or subjected to a speedy interview, the job might be fake.
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