Don't be naive and put your guard down this holiday season. Not only will fraudsters attempt to steal your payment information, your personal information will be more accessible and could potentially end up in the wrong hands. Here are five scams to watch for this holiday season.
1. Free Vacation
Keep an eye out for phone calls and emails claiming you've won a “free vacation!” In most cases, the scenario described will sound too good to be true and once you reach your destination, you'll find the accommodations to be less than luxurious. The scammers will also often ask for credit information to cover service fees. Never give your payment information to a company you're not familiar with.
2. Postal Delivery
Be aware of alerts from postal services saying that a package has been delivered to your home or office. The alerts can be in the form of a text or email and will look like they are coming from FedEx, UPS, or US Mail. If someone asks for your personal information, do not give it to them.
3. Fake Charity
It's especially important to look out for fake charities or emails created by fraudsters asking for funds on behalf of a charity. These criminals know that with the holiday season, comes the season of giving. The grammar used may be incorrect or something about the email might look off; however, this is not always the case. In addition to emails, watch out for funding services on social media sites asking for donations. Often your friends may even share the post not realizing that the charity is not legitimate. It is always a good idea to call the charity to confirm before donating any money.
4. Knockoff Gift Cards
Fraudsters will often create fake promotions on social media sites claiming “you've won a gift card!” or that “the first 50 people to sign up will win!” Once you “claim” the prize, you'll be asked for personal information, which will then be sold to other cyber criminals and used for identity theft. Always be mindful of what you're clicking on to avoid a gift card trap. Never click on a pop-up when browsing online.
5. Giveaways and Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals
Over the next couple months there will be sales galore including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Make sure the sites you are shopping from are both credible and recognizable brands. Don't fall for complimentary watches, phones, tablets, appliances, and more.
Now more than ever, is the best time to get in the habit of checking your online banking and account activity on a routine basis - daily or weekly. The best defense against fraud is you - you know your habits, recent transactions, and the norm of your account.