I know that a lot of people are always excited about the holidays and snagging deals on and offline that only happen around these times of the year. However, these are the Top 10 Holiday Scams for 2015 that you should keep an eye out for this holiday season.
Black Friday Deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest on-line shopping days and the bad guys are out to get rich with your money. Don’t buy anything that seems too good to be true.
Complimentary Apple Watch
Watch out for the too-good-to-be-true coupons that offer complimentary watches, phones, or tablets on sites all over the Internet. Don’t fall for it. Make sure the offers are from a legitimate company.
Postal Delivery Holiday Scams
Watch out for alerts via email or text that you just received a package from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. Don’t enter anything. Think Before You Click. These carriers will never ask you for your personal information via an email, only scammers do this. If you are in fact expecting a package one of these services, contact them directly.
Fake Refunds Holiday Scams
There is a fake refund scam going on that could come from an online merchant, a hotel, or a retail chain. It claims there was a “wrong transaction” and wants you to “click for refund” but instead, your device will be infected with malware.
The Grinch E-Card Greetings
Happy Holidays. Your email has an attachment that looks like an e-greeting card, pretty pictures and all. You think that this must be from a friend. Nope. Malicious e-cards are sent by the millions, and especially at the office, never open these things as they might infect your workstation.
The Fake Gift Card Trick Holiday Scams
Internet crooks promote a fake gift card through social media but what they really are after is your information, which they then sell to other cyber criminals who use it for identity theft. Here is an example: A scam offering a complimentary $1,000 dollar gift card to a well known & trusted merchant for the first 20,000 people who sign up for their fan page (the merchant), which is a malicious copy of the original. This is not from the real merchant, rather some scammer posing as such.
The Charity Tricksters Holiday Scams
The holidays are traditionally the time for giving. It’s also the time that cyber criminals try to pry money out of people that mean well. But making donations to the wrong site could mean you are funding cybercrime or even terrorism. So, watch out for any communications from charities that ask for your contribution, (phone, email, text, and tweets) and make sure they are legit. It’s a good idea to contact the charity to make sure the request did in fact come from them. It is safest to only donate to charities you already know, and refuse all the rest.
The DM Holiday Scams
You tweet about a holiday gift you are trying to find, and you get a direct message (DM) from another twitter user offering to sell you one. Stop! Look! Think! This could very well be a sophisticated scam. If you do not know that person, be very careful before you continue and never pay up front.
The Extra Holiday-Money Fraud
People always need some extra money during this season, so cyber fraudsters are offering work-from-home scams. The most innocent of these make you fill out a form where you give out confidential information like your Social Security number which will get your identity stolen. The worst of them offer you work where you launder money from a cyberheist which can get you into major trouble.
The Evil Wi-Fi Twin Holiday Scams
If you bring your laptop/tablet/smartphone to the mall to scout for gifts and check if you get it cheaper somewhere online. But the bad guys are there too, shopping for your credit card number. They put out a Wi-Fi signal that looks just like a complimentary one you always use. Choose the wrong Wi-Fi and the hacker now sits in the middle and steals your credit card data while you buy online. When you use a Wi-Fi connection in a public place, it is better not to use your credit card.
These holiday scams for 2015 mentioned above are some very common ones that scammers are using to steal your info. Please share these tips with your friends, family and people that you love so that all may take practical measures to protect themselves and their private information. Every year scammers get even craftier and create even more holiday scams that attract the masses. Remember that if some deal sounds too good to be true, then it is NOT true.
Are there any other holiday scams that you know about that you would like to share with others? Feel free to drop your comments below and thanks for reading this post!