Top Holiday Scams

‘Tis the season of being thankful, and generous with gifts, donations and volunteering. The fraudsters love this season too, so don’t let them steal your ‘goodwill.’ Here are the Top 6 Holiday scams to be wary of, and because we’re feeling festive, a bonus one.

  1. Holiday Apps. There are dozens of holiday apps launched this time of year, many targeting children. With promises of video chatting with Santa, lighting of the menorah, or even tracking Santa’s sleigh, bad apps can ask for personal information and track your whereabouts. Help your children know the difference.
  2. Alerts from a ‘Compromised’ Account. An unsolicited text, email or phone call, claiming to be from your financial institution, Amazon or another retailer, urges you to reset your account. Often helping you get to the, albeit copy-cat, website, they’ll steal your credentials and account to purchase their own gifts.
  3. Misleading Social Media Ads. Social media feeds are ripe for fictitious sales, free trials and charitable donations. These online purchase scams are the most common scam on our list, so be wary of the ads. Some are for counterfeit goods, ask for your personal information or even have malware.
  4. Gift Exchanges. Anonymously paying it for forward can feel good, so be careful of ads asking you to purchase a gift or gift card, to be given to someone else. No one ever gets your gift, and the fraudster does get your credit card information.
  5. Fake Gift Cards. Gift cards can be a perfect choice for people on your holiday list. As popular as they are, the fraudsters also love your generosity. When buying a gift card, go directly to the retailer’s website or brick an’ mortar location.
  6. Fake Charities. Another big one. The fraudsters want to help pass on good will and donations, but to their fake charity. Even if your familiar with the charity, like the Red Cross, research it first, and avoid using the link within the email or ad…it could be to a copy-cat website.

Bonus! Your Gift is Almost Here! Be aware of alerts claiming to be from the USPS, FedEx, UPS and other delivery services, when you didn’t even order anything. Often these alerts will offer to track your package asking for your personal information in the process, or even processing fee. Don’t do it.

For more information on how to keep your information safe this year. Check out our Financial Wellness Series | 7 Ways to Stay Save Holiday Shopping Online.