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Watch Out for Fraud This Holiday Season

Vector Scams

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But as you begin your holiday shopping and party prepping, scammers are ready to take advantage of the season by scouring the internet for ways to steal your personal information and make it…not so wonderful. Stay alert and watch out for these common forms of fraud as we head into the holidays.

Home Delivery Scams.

As more people shop online, scammers have been known to pose as companies like Amazon or FedEx and text or email unsuspecting shoppers asking for help delivering a package. Oftentimes, the message will come with a link that prompts victims to enter their personal information or, it will install malware on the device and steal the information in the background. 

Holiday Job Scams.

Many companies look for seasonal help this time of year. Some scammers will post fake job ads and ask for money upfront or ask you to deposit a check on their behalf. Legitimate companies will never ask you for money and will only ask for information (like your social security number) after you’ve been interviewed and hired. 

Charity Scams.

Less-than-honest groups will sometimes solicit people for money using the names of well-known and reputable charities. People will blindly donate to these fake “charities” in the spirit of giving without verifying any of the information provided. 

Tech Support Scams.

Shopping online and come across someone claiming to be tech support? It’s best you close your browser tabs and windows and ignore them. Victims of these phishing scams will unknowingly give them money through gift cards, prepaid cards, wire transfers, or P2P transfer apps (think Venmo or CashApp) with the belief that something is critically wrong with their device. Of course, nothing is, and the scammers will run off with the money before the victim even realizes they’ve been duped. 

Holiday Coupon & Gift Card Scams.

We all love a good deal, right? If you come across digital coupons that ask for your social security number and banking information, they’re fraudulent and should be ignored. Legitimate discount websites would never ask for this information. Likewise, some scammers may try to convince you to purchase gift cards in order to process a refund for an overpayment of non-existent goods or will act like they are contacting you on behalf of a loved one who is in trouble.

Holiday Getaway Scams.

Scammers will contact you claiming you’ve won an all-expenses-paid trip somewhere, but in order to claim your prize, you have to give the contest host several pieces of personal information like your banking information or social security number. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

While this list isn’t inclusive of every scam out there, many will follow similar patterns. Remember, your gut is your best friend. If something doesn’t feel right or something seems off, listen to your gut and ignore the email, hang up the phone, or close out your browser window. Our Fraud Center has plenty of resources and tools that help you understand the different forms of fraud that you may come across year-round.

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/holiday-scams/; https://www.ftc.gov 

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