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It’s that time of year when cyber grinches are looking to steal your holiday cheer. The Better Business Bureau reports that it’s seeing a significant increase in online shopping scams as more people are doing their holiday shopping online during the pandemic. Here are our tips on how to avoid falling victim to eight of the most common computer scams this holiday season.
One of the most popular Christmas scams is phishing emails. Because of supply chain concerns, more individuals are shopping online. Criminals are aware of this and use phishing emails disguised as adverts for difficult-to-find things to send phishing emails. That fantastic deal that appears in your email is most likely a scam. When shopping online, we recommend only using one credit card. The fewer cards you use, the less information about you is available for theft. Furthermore, your credit card, rather than your debit card, will safeguard you against fraudulent purchases.
The majority of people nowadays hunt for love online. Singles may feel lonely during the holidays. Isn’t it nice to have someone to cuddle up with? Though several apps make finding a date easier, they also increase the chance of being scammed, with women over 40 being the most common targets. Someone who displays their sentiments too quickly, asks for money, or claims an emergency are all red flags to watch out for. Slow down, keep your communication in the dating app, and don’t give any money away because you won’t get it back.
During the pandemic, many people are experiencing financial troubles, and scammers are taking advantage of their misfortunes. You may receive an email informing you that you are the lucky winner of a million dollars, and that your email was chosen at random from a batch of millions of addresses. To earn your trust, perpetrators may pose as a well-known global brand or claim to work for real humanitarian groups. These communications are likely to be filled with spelling errors, provide you with a short window to claim your prize, and request personal information in order to collect the funds.
Thousands of temporary workers are being hired by major shops, but before agreeing to work for anyone, be sure the position you’re interested in was not posted online by a scammer. If someone offers you a job on the spot without an interview, be wary. They may require you to buy anything first, such as paper or office supplies. Scammers are vying for your personal information, so they may request your credit report, social security number, or direct deposit information as part of your onboarding. Check out the firm and phone HR to see if they’re hiring.
Scammers take advantage of situations to create a sense of urgency, play on our concerns, and demand that you act quickly. Don’t be alarmed if you receive emails, texts, or phone calls about COVID or other disasters. They may say, for example, that you must act immediately to avoid your account being suspended. The more panicked a communication appears to be, the more likely it is a fraud. Avoid dodgy URLs and virus-infected files by remaining calm and cautious.
Gift cards are the most convenient option for holiday giving. There are a number of sophisticated scams that can delete the money off your card before you can even present it as a gift. A fraudster might, for example, take a gift card from a retailer and write down the card number and pin number. They’ll return it to the store and wait for it to be purchased and activated. The money is then stolen from the card before it is used. Before purchasing a gift card, you should inspect it. Scams are most likely to occur in grocery stores and gas stations, where cards are left unattended on racks. Examine it to ensure that the pin number has not been tampered with or exposed. Take a card from the back if it helps you feel better.
Upfront payment and advance fee scams require you to send money before receiving an award, prize, or reduced vacation. As people plan their vacations for the holidays, travel prize frauds are common. To obtain access to an offer, the fraudster will ask you to pay a charge or supply your bank account information. You may receive nothing in return if you send money, or you may not receive what you were promised.
Keep a close eye on where you buy your goods. Many well-known retailers’ websites have been spoofed to appear authentic. You might assume you’re buying on Macys.com, but double-check the URL for any extra characters, such as an extra “c.” Even if the email confirmation that includes a shipping code appears to be valid, if the URL is incorrect, you are most likely not on a legitimate website and will most likely not receive the things you just ordered.
As you can see, cyber criminals get very creative to target vulnerable online shoppers during the holidays. This holiday season, the last thing you want to worry about is losing out on a good chunk of money that was well-intended for your loved ones. If you have questions about holiday scams and need some expert advice or tips, call us and we’re happy to see how we can help. Happy holidays and safe shopping for all!