It wouldn’t be the holiday season without an influx of clever shopping scams to watch out for! Over the years, online shopping has become the number one method of gift purchasing for the holidays. Unfortunately, this also means an increase in online thieves looking to scam their way into gifts and money at your expense.
Staying informed of the current online scams this season is the best way to keep your purchases and bank accounts safe. To help you avoid becoming a victim of these tricks, we’ve highlighted five of the most common tactics scammers are using this holiday to hack into your personal information:
Holiday E-card Scam:
Sending a holiday e-card in place of a traditional mailing has become a cost-effective practice for several families. But receivers, beware- scammers love to prey on eager relatives waiting for their holiday cards. Though e-card scams have been around for years, they have become more popular than ever as e-card sales increase. First, scammers will send an email with a link to ‘view your e-card’. Instead of a family photo appearing when clicked, spyware, pop-up ads, Trojans, viruses, and other harmful components are unleashed, allowing easy access to your valuable personal data.
Package Delivery Email Scam:
Eager consumers waiting for the arrival of online purchases are perfect targets for this scam. Clicking on emails providing shipping updates on items becomes a habit around the holidays, and email scammers are well aware. Package delivery scams include an emailed link claiming to provide tracking information, while instead releasing an identity theft virus onto your device when opened.
Gift Card Scam:
Gift cards can be the best presents for picky relatives or indecisive friends. Scammers also love gift cards- that is, they love to steal the funds from the gift cards you purchase! When buying gift cards in a store, always make sure the security code is unbroken and unscratched. Scammers who steal gift card funds will record these numbers in the store prior to your purchase, often checking the cards until they are activated and loaded with cash to spend.
Fake charities run rampant during the season of giving, catching generous consumers off guard when extending donations. Posing as a well-known charity, scammers of this trick will send an email requesting a holiday donation that can be an easy trap for individuals who donate often. If you want to donate to any charity this season, make sure to follow instructions directly from the official website to avoid falling victim to a scam.
Black Friday Shopping and Deal Scams:
Though Black Friday has passed, scammers won’t hesitate to steal from bargain shoppers looking for a comparative deal. Shopping scammers will send you fake product emails linked to replicated websites of your favorite stores. Before you realize something is off about your order, the online thieves have already stolen your personal and credit card information. Only shop online by directly entering the URL to avoid fake websites and product pages claiming amazing deals.