The holidays are a time of peace and goodwill, but that’s not the case when it comes to a scammer trying to steal money or information. Take precautions to ensure you keep your hard-earned cash and your personal and financial information safe. Stay alert for these 8 naughty scams to avoid.
1 Package Thefts
‘Tis the season for scammers stealing the holiday cheer in the form of millions of packages each year. The streets in your neighborhood are probably filled with Amazon delivery vans, UPS, and FedEx trucks throughout the holiday season. According to security.org, porch pirates stole from 49 million Americans between July 2021 and July 2022. A deeper analysis found that these thefts can occur in any area, regardless of economics, environment, and setting.
Don’t fall victim to this prevalent scam. You may want to consider a doorbell or other outdoor security camera or even a Smart security package delivery box for your porch. Amazon offers Prime members a service called Amazon Lockers. These self-service lockers allow you to safely pick up your Amazon packages from convenient locations near you. This might include a self-service locker or a staffed counter location.
Amazon also offers Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery in many areas. With some simple setup, you can have items delivered inside your garage with one click at checkout. Unfortunately, we can’t always be home when packages are delivered. Teaming up with your neighbors and having a package delivered to a neighbor who will be home can be a great way to protect yourself from package theft.
2 Bogus Websites
Luring shoppers to a fake website in order to steal credit card information is a scam that has been growing more prevalent. First, check the domain name and be sure you are on a legitimate website before inputting any of your financial information. Second, if anything seems amiss, leave the site immediately. It could look similar to popular but have a missing letter or an extra word that takes you to a fraudulent site. The site may have poor design quality and bad grammar. Above all, remember that if an offer seems to go to be true, it probably it’s probably a scam. You should report a scam website to the Federal Trade Commission.
3 Counterfeit Gift Cards
Avoid buying gift cards from unknown sites or sources. The cards may be counterfeit or stolen. Only buy gift cards from reputable sources you know and trust. If you purchase a gift card from a retailer, inspect it for signs of tampering and to be sure the PIN is not showing. Keep your receipt and register the gift card whenever possible.
4 Charity Scams
We’re all more generous with charitable giving over the holidays and scammers are taking advantage of that generosity. Be wary of donation solicitations through email, social media, or text. Always research a charity before you donate. A scammer may use a name similar to a legitimate charity or try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made. A request for a donation in the form of a gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency is probably a scam. Report it to the FTC.
5 Temporary Holiday Job Scams
Scammers are taking advantage of individuals looking for seasonal holiday jobs. Beware of potential employers that ask you to pay upfront for job supplies, application, or training fees. Beware of jobs that don’t require an interview and those that offer compensation that seems too good to be true. Research the company carefully and check the Better Business Bureau websites for possible complaints.
6 Phony Delivery Notifications
Beware of text messages or emails saying it’s from the USPS, Amazon, or a delivery company asking to reschedule delivery. They may send you a link and ask you to pay a small fee to reschedule and then steal your credit card information.
7 Fake Payment Account Expiration Notification
Similar to the above, you may receive a text or email notifying you that your credit card information on a platform such as Amazon has expired and to tap the link and re-enter your credit card information. This is a ploy to steal your credit card information.
8 Ad Scams
Scammers often launch fake ads on social media or via email or text links offering deeply discounted products or limited-time offers. This is a phishing attempt to steal your credit card information.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Scams
Don’t let a scammer ruin your holiday celebration. Never click on any suspicious links or attachments in emails, websites, social media, or text messages. Be sure you know who you are dealing with when you make a purchase. Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for a holiday purchase using a prepaid debit card, gift card, wire transfer, third party, etc.
Actively monitor your credit union or bank accounts through online banking or your mobile app. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, report it to the FTC. Read more tips like these on the Guthrie Community Credit Union News page.