Since we all are in the holiday spirit and going ham with the shopping spree, scammers are also looking forward to making your life miserable.
These scammers are scheming to steal your money and personal information to make your holiday season a lot less bright. Check out our list below to learn about the top 5 holiday season scams and how to protect yourself from these nasty and devious scammers, so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
Gift Card Scams
Gift card spending is expected to increase 27% this holiday season, according to Blackhawk Network, a global payments company. Due to supply chain issues, many people will turn to gift cards instead of purchasing items as gifts this year. Cybercrime Support Network’s CMO Jenny Grounds says that scammers love gift cards because they are untraceable, and there is no way to retrieve money once a scammer has the card details.
There are many types of gift card scams, such as those that tell people that they must pay a fee with the gift card in order to avoid government penalties or the ones that pose as family members or friends who need the funds. In a survey by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about one in four people reported buying a gift card as a payment method. A key rule you need to keep in mind, according to the FTC, is anyone who demands to be paid with a gift card is a scammer.
In the holiday season, people give money to charities in order to give back to the community or save on taxes. Scammers take advantage of this as they try to take advantage of people. According to the FTC, people can be scammed by charities online and even on the phone. They will be pressured into donating or tricked by calling to thank them for a contribution they didn’t make and then demanding payments. When they ask for a donation, they’ll use vague words that sound sentimental but will not describe what they’ll do with your money. Donate only to charities that are transparent, accountable, and financially stable (Charity Navigator rates charities on these characteristics) and never use gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfers.
Package Delivery Scams
Many Canadians have turned to online shopping during the influenza pandemic, allowing them to monitor their packages online or via text message- a new habit that scammers are exploiting. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns about delivery notification scams that pretend to be real couriers or the postal service. These calls and texts include a fake tracking link and look like they are coming from a legitimate courier, such as Canada Post. In either case, you will be redirected to a website that requests personal information, or you will be asked to install malware, which is software designed to get unauthorized access to your phone or computer. Once installed, the malware will start stealing your information. A delivery scam can take the form of a voicemail message asking you to call back to receive your package; this can cost a lot of money in connections and minutes. Prior to moving forward, always remain cautious if you receive a message about a package delivery or delay. For accurate information about your deliveries, you must contact the courier directly if any of the words are misspelled, for example, “fedx.com.” You can identify harmful links by checking for misspelled words such as “fedx.com.”
Fake Gift Exchanges
If you have coworkers, friends, and family, you may enjoy Secret Santa, but using the Internet to exchange gifts with strangers is not a great idea. You may receive several gifts in return, but this is a seasonal scam you should avoid. As the Better Business Bureau warns: Each holiday season, the “Secret Sister” gift exchange surfaced on social media. It promises participants they can exchange one gift for up to 36, such as a bottle of wine or a $10 gift. Upon signing up, you are asked for your name, address, and friends’ information. It is a pyramid scheme in disguise. The biggest risk is that you might not receive any gifts in return and also that the scammers may use your personal information to add you to other scam lists, or worse, commit identity theft. If they see these gift exchanges on their social media feeds, BBB advises people to report the posts.
In grandparent scams, an imposter poses as a family member or grandchild claiming they cannot afford gifts for the holidays. As an added precaution, ask questions to verify the caller’s identity that a stranger would not know the answers to. Better yet, hang up and speak directly with the relative the scam artist is claiming to be to ensure it’s an actual family member.
If you are concerned that your grandparents might receive this kind of scam, Hello Nerds can help them out with our Senior tech assistance services. All you have to do is let us know, and we will be there at their doorstep.
Here are some of the red flags you should notice to help yourself from getting scammed.
- Offers on popular gift items are usually extravagant, especially if they are promoted on unfamiliar websites or social media.
- For a deal or delivery, you must click on a link or download an app in the unsolicited email.
To Sum Up
It is best to take precautions and educate yourself as not everyone on the internet has a nice heart as you do. In any case, if you want to add an extra layer of security to your network, let our technicians help you out with that. With Hello Nerds WiFi security setup & optimization services, have your peace of mind.