The holiday season is a favorite time of the year for many, unfortunately this includes scam artists. While many people are gearing up for this shopping season, scammers are looking for opportunities to take advantage of your personal financial information.
There are a ton of different ways in which fraudsters can steal your information or valuables and a majority of them fit seamlessly into the holiday season. Because of this looming holiday risk, I wanted to write down 5 holiday scams you need to watch out for.
1. Fake Charities
Tis’ the season for phony charities and fake donation requests. You should be apprehensive with charities that you have not heard of before. Before making any financial donation or commitment, make sure to properly vet the recipient. Where is this money going? How will this money be used? How did this company get in touch with you? Does this organization have a website? What can you find out about the organization online? Simply put, the more research you do, the safer you are.
2. Email Phishing
“Email Phishing” is the act of disguising an email. The goal of phishing is to trick the email recipient into believing that the message is coming from someone that they know – a bank for instance. Once the fraudster has the recipient’s trust, they will ask the recipient to send them personal information or click a link to download an attachment (malicious). Be mindful of email addresses and the daily requests that are coming to your inbox.
3. Online Gift Exchanges
Secret Santa around the office can be a fun way to build goodwill among employees. However, an online secret santa exchange is probably not a great idea. In recent years, online holiday gift exchanges have risen in popularity. The bad part – scammers know this. Many scam artists will pose as an individual who is looking to participate in the exchange, but in reality they are just hoping to receive free gifts. Be careful about what online exchanges you are partaking in. My advice – don’t participate in online exchanges… too much risk!
4. Delivery Notice Scam
With so many online orders being placed during the holiday season, scammers will look to target your mailbox with delivery notices. You might find a notice in your mailbox that a delivery was attempted but no one was home. The notice might list a phone number to call so that you can provide delivery instructions. Once you call, the scammer will attempt to get you to give them your social security number or some other type of personal information. Keep in mind, mail delivery would not require any of that deeply personal information. If in doubt, go to the post office in person.
5. Gift Card Scams
Gift cards can make for a great Christmas gift but they also carry a little bit of risk. As with a debit or credit card, make sure to keep card information private and be mindful when providing card information online. When online shopping, make sure to verify that you are viewing the correct web address and never provide card information to an online communication forum. On unsupported sites like online forums, scammers may pose as employees of retailers in order to coax you into providing them with your card information. If you ever have any hesitancies, it is best to not proceed. If you follow the tips listed above, gift cards make for a nice & simple holiday gift!
This article was not written to scare you but rather to inform you. By being aware of the potential scams that are out there you are protecting yourself and your family from harm’s way. Looking for more helpful tips to avoid fraudsters and scams? Check out Deerwood’s Fraud and Security page!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Deerwood Bank.