The holiday season is a time of joy and generosity, as people come together to celebrate and exchange gifts. However, amidst the festive cheer, there is also an unfortunate rise in fraud and scams. Fraudsters take advantage of the busy shopping season and the goodwill of consumers to deceive and swindle them out of their hard-earned money or personal information.
According to recent statistics, online shopping and non-delivery scams alone cost Americans a staggering $281 million last year, with a significant portion of these incidents occurring during the holiday season. It is crucial to be aware of these scams and take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Let’s take a closer look at four of the most common holiday scams how to avoid falling victim to them:
Fake online stores
Scammers often create fake websites that look like legitimate online stores, offering products at very low prices or claiming to have hard-to-find items in stock. They may use social media ads or phishing emails to lure you to their sites.
To avoid falling into this trap, it is essential to conduct thorough research before making any purchase. Look for customer reviews, contact information, and security features on the website. Additionally, pay attention to the URL of the site – fake websites may have misspelled words, additional characters, or a domain name different from the original one. Protect yourself further by using secure payment methods like credit cards or PayPal, as they often offer additional assistance in case of fraudulent charges.
Fake delivery notifications
Another prevalent scam during the holiday season involves fake delivery notifications sent through texts or emails. These messages claim that you have a package waiting for you or that there is an issue with your delivery. They may ask you to click on a link, call a specific number, or provide personal information for confirmation or rescheduling.
To avoid falling victim to this scam, always verify the sender of the message. Legitimate delivery companies usually have official logos, phone numbers, and email addresses. You can cross-check the tracking number on the company’s official website or mobile app. Never click on any suspicious links or attachments, call unknown numbers, or provide personal information if it seems suspicious. Delete the message and report it to the delivery company to help them combat these fraudulent activities.
The holiday season is a time of giving, and many people choose to donate to charities supporting various causes. Unfortunately, scammers exploit this generosity by creating fake charities. They employ emotional appeals, fabricated stories, or fake endorsements to persuade individuals to donate. However, instead of reaching the intended cause, your money ends up lining the pockets of these deceitful scammers.
To ensure your donations are going to reputable organizations, it is crucial to conduct thorough research. Check if the charity is registered and look for its mission, vision, values, and financial statements. You can ask for their charitable tax number and confirm their registration with relevant authorities like the CRA or the IRS. Be cautious of unsolicited donation requests, especially those that are urgent, aggressive, or pressure you to contribute immediately.
Fake Online Giveaways and Surveys on Social Media
Often scammers will use social media to list fake holiday giveaways that offer gifts and free cash in exchange for your personal information. Some even use bot accounts to engage with the giveaway to make the scam look more real.
To avoid this scam, you should be skeptical of any survey or quiz that offers a prize that seems too good to be true, such as money, gift cards, gadgets, or free products. These can be used to lure you into providing your personal or financial information or paying a fee to claim your reward. Also, if you have been told that you won a prize, but you need to pay a fee or give additional information it is likely a scam.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
By being vigilant and cautious, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to these common holiday scams. Let’s celebrate the holiday season with joy and happiness while also safeguarding our financial well-being.