End of year wrap-up has many of us in a hurry. We rush to get our businesses buttoned up, our shopping done, and our tasks completed so that we can enjoy the time off.
Along with our tendency to rush, is the feeling of merriment and goodwill, and we may assume everyone else is operating from the same place or intent. That may be nice, but don’t be fooled by cybercriminals waiting to take advantage of your own good intentions.
Let’s discuss a few of the more common scams that can be prevalent during the holiday season.
Being charitable is nice, but criminals know how to appeal to your emotions, and they do it well. Fake companies that seem very similar to familiar and legitimate companies are an easy way to scam you out of money. If you want to be charitable, go to the official website of the fund that you are interested in supporting. From there, you’ll be able to donate safely.
You order online or perhaps even in the store for home delivery of your season deal. A few days later you get a text or email indicating that your address or other information needs to be verified or updated. Without hesitation, you click and don’t realize that you’ve been directed to a fraudulent website where you input personal details. Sometimes you’ll be requested to pay a shipping fee. Because there are third-party operators that often handle shipments, you don’t think twice about not recognizing the name.
To avoid being duped by this tactic, stop and look at the message in detail. If it doesn’t indicate the origin of the package, that’s a red flag. Do not click – go to the company’s main site for contact details and verify that there is an issue through their official contact information.
Social media brings people together – including strangers. It can be a great way to connect with like-minded people, but it’s also an easy way for scams to be deployed. Gift-giving exchanges or gift card swaps are an easy method of doing so. If you want to participate in something like this, do it with a group you’re familiar with – with people that you know. Stranger danger might be what we learned as kids, but it bears repeating when it comes to forming online relationships as an adult. The same goes for easily giving someone your trust.
You can still be full of goodwill towards all, but in this age of online living, shopping, and socializing, we need to remember to use good judgment. Do not assume that everyone is bad, but don’t trust just anyone without pausing to assess. Before you buy, click, or give, take a moment to pause. And make sure you’re spreading good cheer and not your personal information unknowingly.