Scammers work every day of the year, but with all the extra online shopping and Internet payments happening during the holidays, they’re working overtime. They especially love major shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Being scammed can mean losing money or even worse? Having your identity stolen.
According to Forbes, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is knowing common holiday scams to watch out for this time of year, including these:
- Gift card scams – Thanks to supply chain worries, more people will be giving gift cards this year and scammers are loving it. Jenny Grounds, CMO of Cybercrime Support Network told Forbes that scammers love gift cards because they’re untraceable and there’s no way to recover the money once a scammer has the card details. Scammers may tell people to pay a fee with a gift card to avoid being in trouble with the government or pretend to be a loved one who needs the funds for a specific store. The Federal Trade Commission says gift cards are the most prevalent payment method for scams and that anytime someone demands to be paid with a gift card, it’s a scam.
- Charity scams – Charitable giving increases during the holidays and scammers take advantage of it. The FTC reports scammers will rush people to make a donation online or over the phone or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never made and then ask for payment. Before you donate to any charity, do your research and never give money by wire transfer, cryptocurrency or gift card.
- Package delivery scams – Most of us track our packages online or through texts and scammers know it. The FCC warns delivery notification scams look like they’re from legit sources, like the U.S. Postal Service, but the fake tracking link they send will install malware or take you to a site to get personal information. When in doubt, contact the courier directly to find out about your deliveries.
- Fake gift exchanges – You’ve probably seen gift swap posts on social media, but they could be scams. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises staying away from those “Secret Sister” gift exchanges that pop up every year promising you’ll get 36 gifts by sending one because you probably won’t get any presents and schemers could steal your identity.