While Christmas is a magical season, it also creates the perfect conditions for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. From fake apps to package delivery scams, here’s what you need to know about Christmas scams.
Cybercriminals go to great lengths in order to fool unsuspecting victims. This includes creating fake apps that look legitimate but are built with one purpose in mind: to steal your personal and financial information. To avoid this scam, download any shopping app directly from the website of the retailer. This way you can make sure that you are using a legitimate app.
Criminals know that during Christmas people are more inclined to make donations and use this fact to their advantage. As you may imagine, in a charity scam, fraudsters impersonate a legitimate institution in order to get you to give them money.
Some ways to avoid this scheme include researching a charity before donating, and remembering that you should never donate to a charity by wiring money or by gift card. Some red flags, like a person trying to pressure you into donating, should put you instantly on high alert.
Non-Delivery and Non-Payment Scams
According to the FBI, these are the two most common holiday scams. A non-delivery scam occurs when you purchase products online that are never delivered. In non-payment scams, on the other hand, products are shipped or services are rendered but the provider is never paid.
To avoid these scams, use only reputable websites. Remember that criminals are very skilled at creating fake websites that look legitimate. To spot potentially dangerous websites, pay attention to details, such as typos, excessive use of exclamation or interrogation marks, and addresses that intend to emulate the name of an established institution (for example, “isr” instead of “irs”).
Package Delivery Scams
With a non-delivery scam, you never received a package you already paid for. In many ways, package delivery scams are the opposite.
In this type of scam, criminals warn you through a missed delivery tag, email, or text message, about a package they were supposedly unable to deliver. These messages usually include a telephone number you are urged to call or a link you are supposed to click on. Refrain from following these instructions: the links may direct you to a website built to steal your information (phishing), while the person answering the phone is a scammer eager to ask for your credit card details.
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