The holiday season is in full swing. As we gear up for festivities, it’s important to stay vigilant against the barrage of online holiday scams. Professional scammers try to take advantage of this time of year when people are busy and distracted.
Understanding the types of scams that are out there, while being aware and safeguarding your information, is vital to avoid falling victim to online schemes designed to take your money or steal your identity.
Here are seven common scams to recognize and avoid this holiday season:
These scams involve using fraudulent emails or websites specifically designed to obtain sensitive personal information from unsuspecting victims. These scams often target holiday shoppers, offering great deals or discounts in exchange for personal information, such as account numbers or passwords.
To avoid these scams, double-check the URL of any website you visit, and never click on links from unknown senders.
Look for strangely formatted subject lines and obvious grammar and spelling errors. Many times the company’s logo looks slightly off or is a different size and color. Pay close attention because these are usually an automatic sign that you’re being targeted.
Gift Card Scams
During the holiday season, gift cards are a popular gift option. Cybercriminals like to take advantage of this and offer fake gift cards or gift card generators that are ineffective and a front to gain access to your financial information.
To protect yourself, only purchase gift cards from highly reputable retailers. If you receive a gift card in the mail, always check for any signs of tampering on the gift card.
Social Media Scams
Especially during the holidays, scammers use social media as an easy way to trick people into sharing personal information. These dishonest tactics can come in the form of fake content and links, fake friend requests or even phishing scams. Be careful about sharing your personal information on social media platforms and avoid clicking on unknown links or accepting strange friend requests.
Many people are in a giving mood during the holiday season, and scammers often take advantage of this by creating fake charities to raise money. To avoid falling victim to a charity swindle, always research the organization before donating any money. Look for any red flags, such as an unsecured website or a lack of transparency about how the funds will be used.
Shipping scams are common during the holiday season when people are expecting delivery of gifts and packages. Cyber thieves may send fake shipping notifications that contain malware or links that can infect your device if clicked. They can also create invoices that make it seem like there is an outstanding shipping fee that is due before a delivery can be made.
Always verify any shipping notifications before clicking on links or downloading attachments. If you ordered something, check your invoice, verify the shipping source and track directly through either USPS, UPS or FedEx.
Many people travel during the holiday season, and opportunistic cyber crooks create fake websites or travel booking portals that offer seemingly great deals and discounts. These deals often come with hidden fees, or worse, no reservations or travel package at all.
If the vacation deal seems too good to be true and offers a ton of extras that are not usually included in a travel package, then there is a high likelihood that you are being taken advantage of.
To avoid falling victim to these tricks, only use reputable third-party travel websites or book directly with the hotel or airline.
These often involve the promise of easy and quick money during the holiday season. The hackers may ask for a small upfront fee to secure a job that doesn’t exist or ask for personal information, such as your social security number. To avoid this deceitful activity, always research potential employers before providing any personal information or money.
At Beacon Broadband, we realize these threats are ever present and growing within our daily online lives. This is why we offer many convenient and affordable solutions that provide excellent options, including enhanced layers of security to protect you and your family through our cutting-edge managed Wi-Fi equipment. Even better, the equipment and Beacon Home app are included in all internet packages.
Give us a call if you have questions or want to find out more at 541-254-9265.
Stay safe and happy holidays from all of us at Beacon Broadband.