The holiday season usually brings with it increased criminal activity because people are often more generous and less wary during the season of giving. Here is our latest compilation on holiday scams that you should watch out for this year.
People usually feel that giving to charities is a traditional part of the holidays and scammers are quick to take advantage of this to solicit donations via email, phone, social media, and even by knocking on your door. Just to be on the safe side, do a quick research before giving to any charity and verify that they’ve had a long presence before handing over your money. Refrain from responding to phone calls, emails, and the like until after you’ve verified that the charity is legitimate and that you are being contacted by the right people.
Gift Exchange via Social Media or Online Fora
There are various schemes that offer you rewards for giving a small fee. These schemes typically work like pyramid scams and will do anything to gain new members to keep the con going.
Letters to Santa
Refrain from giving out your personal information to companies offering personalized letters from Santa as the majority of these companies are not legitimate and are just phishing for information.
Fake websites or misleading websites are in full swing during the holidays. You might think that you are logging in unto a site that you use but the moment you enter your username and your password, crafty scammers can steal your data. Always make sure that you are at the correct site before logging in.
Request for Use of Unusual Forms of Payment
Most websites and vendors accept credit card and Paypal payments via encrypted connections but scammers might ask for gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, or other means to receive untraceable payment.
Electronic cards are a fun way to send holiday cheer but be sure to not click on links that do not identify the sender or those that require you to provide personal details. You’ll never know how the information you share may be used.
Fraudulent Shipping Notifications
If you’re not expecting a parcel, chances are there is no parcel and you’re being targeted for a scam. Some might send you emails and ask for a small delivery fee or want you to provide an ID before they can deliver the non-existent parcel. Just ignore them.
Free Gift Cards
One of the oldest internet scams. Offers of free gift cards just to complete a survey asking for your personal details are nothing but a scam.
Beware of calls claiming to be from loved ones or friends who are caught on an emergency. Oftentimes the caller will claim to be a relative or a friend on a holiday abroad with no means of getting home and will ask for money. Try to contact the real person via social media, email, or phone just to be sure.
Holiday Jobs Scam
Some scammers send out emails announcing that a big retailer is hiring for a temporary holiday job and all you need to do is provide personal information to be shortlisted for such jobs. Unless you can verify this from the retailer’s official website, keep in mind that it is unlikely that they’ll know your email to tap you for such an opportunity.