While the holidays are a time of joy and cheer, they are also a time for fraudsters to come out of the woodwork and scam a lot of unsuspecting revelers. According to ACI Worldwide, global fraud attempts during the holiday season increased 31% between 2015 and 2016, with fraud losses 25% higher during the holiday season as compared to other times of the year.
For this reason, folks need to be alert while shopping over the holidays, and there are some common scams they can keep an eye out for to make sure they aren’t a victim of a holiday hoax.
Common holiday scams include:
- Gift Card Fraud – While both electronic and plastic gift cards are one of the most popular gift items for the holidays, they are highly susceptible to fraud. To guard against getting scammed, use your gift cards as soon as you can, buy cards off a company website, since ones on a display are more at risk, buy ones in protective packaging if you can, pay attention when a cashier activates a card and make sure how much money is on it, and don’t buy gift cards on auction websites or online marketplaces.
- Copycat Websites and Mobile Apps – It isn’t uncommon for fraudsters to copy popular websites or apps and profit by imitating a popular site’s trademark. Often the fake URL is off by a few letters or words. To guard against this, make sure you search the web for a company’s actual website, and double check the info on the site. And when it comes to apps, always download them from reputable stores like Apple, or Google Play Store.
- Fake Shipping Notifications – If you get a strange email from a shipper attempting to deliver a package it could be a phishing attack trying to spread a virus on to your computer. Never link to a shipping site right from an email. Instead, make sure to visit the shipper’s valid website.
- Phony E-Greeting Cards – If you don’t know the identity of the person who sent you an e-card, chances are it’s a fraudster so delete it. Also know that real e-card sites won’t ask you for your personal info to open a card.
- Help Wanted: Seasonal Job Solicitations – If an email with a job solicitation seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. If you’re looking for a job, go to a company’s main website to apply, or apply in person, don’t respond to those emails.
- Travel Scams – Again, if you’re sent a travel deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will try to lure people in with fake travel websites, and then snag credit card and personal information. Always deal with a reputable travel agency or website when making your travel plans.
Source: Market Watch