Holiday distractions provide the perfect opening for scammers. They target people hoping the busy time of year will make scamming easier. And they’re right: phishing attacks increase 50% from October to January according to F5 Labs’ 2019 Phishing and Fraud Report.
Here’s how you can remain alert this holiday season:
The holidays can certainly inspire gifts of gratitude and giving but beware that you’re donating to reliable organizations. You can check how much money charities allocate to their mission on websites like CharityWatch and Charity Navigator. And be cautious of crowd-funding sites – only donate to sites established by people you know.
Holiday phishing scams
Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails. Scammers pretend to be reputable businesses or retailers. Their emails can be very convincing but look for typos or grammatical errors and be sure to check the sender’s address. And always have current antivirus software on your device.
You’re searching for the season’s must-have toy and see a coupon for a hefty discount. It seems too good to be true! Well, it is. Scammers will serve up fake ads – like fake news on social sites – enticing you with a coupon or discount and then direct you to a third-party site that asks for credit card or other personal information.
Holiday job scams
Many businesses hire temporary help during the holiday. This can be a great way to make extra money for gifts or to begin your New Year’s savings resolutions. But not all job offers are legit. Fake job postings can steal your personal information or even your money. If a business requires money up-front with promises of a future payback, it’s probably a scam. You can also verify the business through LinkedIn, the Better Business Bureau or Google.
Fake order confirmation emails
Scammers will send fake emails impersonating well-known retailers in the hopes that you will click the link and compromise your personal data. Protect your data and don’t click on links or attachments unless you can 100% verify the sender. If you think your credit card or financial information has been compromised, it’s best to log in to your online account to check.