During the holiday season, most of us are busy searching online for the perfect gift for our family and friends. Last year, an estimated 2.14 billion people shopped online. Unfortunately, this is the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to strike. Here are five common holiday scams to avoid and warn your family about. Protect your holiday cheer – and finances – and learn about the most common types of scams and helpful tips to help protect yourself.
Here are just a few of the common scams targeting you during the holidays:
- Social media ads that lead you to fake online stores to steal your money by gaining credit card details, or personal information.
- Fake missed delivery notification texts which claim that a package has been delayed or that ask for payment before delivery.
- Fraudulent charities that steal your money e.g., GoFundMe campaigns to trick you into sending money or sharing your personal information.
- Offer deals on hard-to-find items or airline tickets, that offer popular holiday items or tempt you with travel bargains.
- Impersonation of well-known brands to steal your personal information via emails, texts, or calls claiming to be from companies you know (like Amazon or Walmart) to steal your login information or money.
Few things to check when you receive such emails or text messages.
- Slightly altered URL or Misspelled URL (“amaz0n.com” vs “amazon.com”)
- Different domain (“aliexpress.net” vs “aliexpress.com”)
- Different logos and fonts or poor grammar
- Payment page that redirects to another website
- Lack of contact information
- Suspicious email address
- Alarming and threatening tone
- Request for information that they should already have
- Directs you to open a link or download an attachment
- Threats of financial and legal repercussions
- Rewards a small investment with a disproportionately large sum of money
If you spot these warning signs, cease all communications with the scammer and avoid sharing any information or sending them money.
Lastly, remember that financial scams can, and do, happen to anyone. Don’t feel embarrassed. Share your experience with friends and family and ask for help. If you fall victim to a scam, contact your financial institution as soon as possible and file a police report.