Holiday Scams - 2018 Edition
Top Holiday Scams
Most stores have switched to chip reading credit card machines to reduce the risk of fraud and skimming. However, scammers are now focusing their efforts online. To protect yourself and your money, financial experts recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card when making online purchases.
It's very easy for scammers to mimic real websites. Look for the https (the "s" means secure) and lock symbol at the top of the webpage. Also, look at the spelling of the web address. It is extremely easy for tricksters to change or add an extra letter to make it look legitimate.
Fake Shipping Notifications
This scam is used with different techniques. You may receive an email with attachments or links that could download malware to your computer to steal your personal information. You could also receive a nondescript postcard where you are instructed to call the number on the card which could lead to you revealing private information and/or when the house is vacant. Don't fall for it!
Scammers like to take advantage of the holiday spirit by using fake charity solicitations by email, phone and social media sites. You can verify charities at www.give.org or givingmatters.guidestar.org.
Temporary Holiday Jobs
A lot of companies need additional help during the holidays. Steer clear of job postings that ask you to share personal information or pay for job leads.
Be extremely skeptical if you receive a call from a “relative” saying they have been arrested, kidnapped, or hospitalized while traveling. Never send money unless you can verify the information with another family member first.
Letters from Santa
There are several reputable companies that offer personalized letters from Santa Claus; however, scammers like to use this as a way to obtain personal and financial information from parents and grandparents.
Unusual Forms of Payment
Be wary of anyone asking for prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, etc. as a form of payment. These transactions cannot be traced or refunded.
Use caution when searching for travel bargains. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Social Media Gift Exchange
It sounds fun to purchase one gift and receive so much more in return; however, this holiday “fun” is actually a pyramid scheme which is illegal.
Gift Card Scams
Gift cards are always a great idea for the holidays. Just remember to be vigilant. Avoid gift cards displayed in the open. If you choose one that is in a package, inspect the package or open it in front of the cashier to ensure it has not been replaced with a phony. Keep your receipt and register the card online with a new PIN (if possible).
Online Pet Shopping
During the holidays a lot of people look for the perfect gift which could be a pet. Be skeptical of online pet sales. You might receive a pet from a "puppy mill" which could increase the likelihood of poor health, or you may receive nothing at all.
Source: Better Business Bureau