How to Avoid Holiday Scams?

Halloween wasn’t very long ago, and with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas approaching, the upcoming holiday season promises joy and festivity—until scams intervene. These days, dedicated to giving and sharing blessings, witness increased spending and enticing business promotions. Yet, scammers seize the opportunity, targeting potential victims. Despite fraudsters operating continuously, safeguarding against scams requires awareness of common tactics.

To stay secure this holiday season, you first need to acquaint yourself with prevalent scams. Here are 5 common holiday scams and preventive measures to stay vigilant and protected during this festive period.

5 Holiday Scams and Ways To Avoid Them

1) E-Greetings card Scam

According to Cyberghost, E-greetings cards offer a festive alternative to traditional greetings but beware of the grinches behind the scenes. Cybercriminals exploit the ease of replicating and distributing these cards, using popular designs for scam cards. A pop-up appearing legit from Hallmark or 123Greetings may lead to malicious downloads. Scammers gain access, monitoring your activity or seizing control, turning your device into a festive nightmare.

How to avoid:

Stay informed about scams, be cautious with unknown links, use strong passwords and 2-factor authentication, exercise caution with third-party sites, deploy reliable security, avoid pop-up ads, and keep your computer updated for enhanced security.

2) Social Media Ads Scam

Social media ads have evolved into a prime arena for the booming online shopping trend, but this popularity comes at a cost. Recent findings from the Federal Trade Commission disclosed that over the past years, Americans have suffered losses totaling $2.7 billion in social media scams, predominantly on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. A significant 44% of fraud complaints involve consumers who, enticed by social media ads, end up not receiving the promised product or service.

How to avoid:

It’s advisable to sidestep purchases directly from social media ads to dodge potential scams. Instead, track down the company’s legitimate IP address online and confirm if they genuinely offer the advertised product at the stated price. Alternatively, peruse trusted platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, or Target for a comparable product. That gives you the convenience of in-person pickup.

3) Charity Scams

The holiday season amplifies the incidences of charity scams, preying on people’s increased interest in generosity. Scammers employ tactics such as creating fake charity names and posing as representatives through phone calls, emails, or texts. The surge in social media usage has also led to an influx of fake charities attempting to deceive individuals online.

How to avoid:

To shield against falling prey to charity scams, abstain from immediate donations to unsolicited individuals or organizations. Conduct thorough independent research, employ search engines, or consult family members to verify legitimacy. Donate solely through official websites or addresses and stay vigilant for subtle alterations in organization names, a common ploy used by online scammers.

4) Package Delivery Scam

In the midst of festive chaos, package delivery scams pose an escalated risk. With year-end sales and holiday shopping in full swing, individuals may receive deceptive texts related to package deliveries from carriers like FedEx, UPS, or USPS. Scammers resort to tactics like typosquatting, which deploys fake links resembling authentic websites.

How to avoid:

To evade falling for package delivery scams, verify information from the original shipping confirmation and remain cautious of suspicious links and linguistic red flags in messages. Employ reliable antivirus software to forestall potential disasters from malicious links.

5) Holiday Travel Scam

These scams capitalize on the increased desire for travel during festive periods. Scammers fabricate flight-booking websites and send fraudulent travel cancellation emails, redirecting victims to counterfeit sites where they unknowingly pay for non-existent flights.

How to avoid:

Protect yourself from holiday travel scams by being skeptical of heavily discounted flight prices. Scrutinize flight booking websites for signs of fraud, such as spelling mistakes, unusual website structures, lack of contact details, or low-quality graphics. When you receive an email about a canceled flight, ensure its authenticity by directly contacting the airline before making any decisions.

Concluding Thoughts

The individuals with malicious intent constantly devise new strategies to deceive you into providing funds or personal information. However, you can safeguard yourself by exercising caution and verifying the origins of messages, emails, or calls soliciting money or personal details. If an offer appears excessively favorable, it likely harbors deception.

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