Online Shopping Alert: Exposing Holiday Scams, Phishing and Charity

Online Shopping Alert: Exposing Holiday Scams, Phishing and Charity
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Once the holiday season arrives, we all turn to buying presents from our beloved. While earlier people turned to offline shopping, now most are turning to online shopping. With the growth of online shopping, scams are also increasing. 

Most holiday scams capitalize on travel, online shopping, and charities as the scammers can easily trick. Reports suggest that Americans lost around $281 million to non-delivery scams and online shopping last year during the holiday seasons. 

What are Common Holiday Scams and How to Avoid?

According to CyberGhost, there are a number of scams during the holidays, and most of these scammers work fast and overtime in order to avoid extra spending. Most of these fraudsters use a wide range of techniques, especially social engineering, to dupe customers. 

As long as you’re aware of the holiday scams and how it’s conducted, you can avoid those as well. Thus, some of the common holiday scams that you may be prone to and can easily avoid are as follows:

1. Holiday Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have become extremely common as these fraudsters are turning to various sources like Amazon, Apple, or trusted government websites. They may send you phishing emails and texts, often suggesting that you’ve won a lucky draw or are receiving any delivery. Many of these scammers also send messages claiming that your website is hacked. 

Most of these phishing scams contain links to fake websites where you may be asked to enter personal information. Once you enter that information, the malware will infect your device. If you ever receive any such suspicious emails or texts containing any link, you should avoid those. Moreover, you should not provide additional information, such as contact permissions, to third-party apps. 

2. Fake Charities

Fake charity scams often take advantage of the generosity that most of the people have. Many of these scammers set up fake GoFundMe campaigns and other charitable activities. As a result, you may need help to spot whether these charity scams are fake or genuine. 

These fake charities will often ask you to put any sensitive information. These scammers create websites that look like charities depending on the names you have trusted. You should carefully read the campaigns that are posing to be genuine ones. If the charity campaigns seem to be threatening, you should clearly avoid it. If you want to avoid scams, you should read the charity campaigns and only post on genuine websites. 

3. Travel Scams

The holiday season is also the season of travel. Thus, the scammers take advantage of this as they use the travelers to their advantage. Most of these scammers create fake flight-booking websites using which they send fake cancellation emails. 

A lot of unsuspecting victims usually agree to it and send money. This can be negative as you may end up with money in your scammer’s wallet. If there are any websites that are providing heavy discounts, you should be very wary of it. Moreover, if you receive any mail or message claiming that your flight has been canceled, you will need to reach out to the airline directly. Double-checking the details helps to avoid the risk of being scammed. 

4. Seasonal Job Offers

A lot of fake or scam job offers come up during holidays. These may seem as lucrative offers, but once you fall for it, you may be the next victim for the scammers. If you’re receiving any job offers during holidays, it is crucial that you check how much money they’re offering and what are the requirements. 

Most of these scammers usually send such emails containing job offers as they want to steal your personal information. They will claim that they need the information for initiating the hiring process and also ask you to send money. If the employer is asking for money for training and supplies, you should strictly avoid such email. It is advisable that you never share crucial information with anyone like bank account numbers, tax information or Social Security Number (SSN). 

Final Thoughts

You should always look out for offers, texts, or emails that seem way too suspicious. At the same time, you should always secure your bank account and social security number to avoid any problems. Furthermore, you should also check for extra details like strange formatting, lack of contact information, spelling and more. You may also secure the accounts with the help of two factor authentication. It’s the holidays, so make sure that you protect yourself against any major scams.