Oh Christmas time! A time for joy. A time for giving.
And a time for scam artists to cash in. Seriously!
According to ACI Worldwide, global fraud attempts during the holiday season increase 31%, with fraud losses 25% higher during the holiday season as compared to other times of the year.
You are 31% more likely to be victim of an attempted fraud right now. That's a huge deal. You have to be vigilant, especially with online shopping.
The most common holiday-related scams include...
- Gift Card Fraud – If you receive a gift card, use it as soon as you can. If you're buying one, make sure you get the gift receipt to pass along with the card! Buy cards off a company website, since ones on a display are more at risk. If you do buy one in store, only buy ones in protective packaging and pay attention when a cashier activates a card and make sure how much money is on it. When you leave the store, double check the balance by calling the company.
- 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. Always double check the URL and be on the lookout for signs of authenticity.
- 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. If you have concerns about a package, contact the website you bought it from immediately.
- 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!