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Holiday Scams - How to Avoid them

3 Minute
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When the holidays come around, we all sit down with our laptops and start wondering what presents we will give this year. Little do we know that holiday scams are a poisoned gift we can inherit with online shopping.

Online scams always ramp up during holidays. People lost more than $337 million as a result of non-payment or non-delivery frauds, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) 2021 report. There were further losses of $173 million due to credit card fraud.

In this article, we will discuss the various types of holiday scams, some warning signs to keep an eye on, how to avoid them, and what to do if you have been scammed.

Types of holiday scams

There are several types of holiday scams, but their main goal is more or less the same - to extract personal data or money from you. They always do this through some sort of Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme. Here are the main types of holiday scams.

Package Delivery: this scam involves some sort of package delivery problem. For example, you might receive an email regarding a failed delivery, asking you to do one of two things. You may be prompted to click a link that may infect your computer or to give up your banking information.

Non-payment: in this particular scheme, you receive an email informing you that there was a problem with the payment. The scammer will then ask you to give your banking information such as credit card number.

Gift card scams: a typical gift card scam involves receiving an email from someone you know (it might be someone you work with) asking you to purchase various gift cards. 

Charity scams: similar to the gift card scam, the charity scam involves an email from someone you know asking you to help a charity.

Travel scams: some scammers send emails with flight offers that ask you to share credit card information or click links that contain malware. Another variation involves spoofed hotel websites offering free accommodation.

How to avoid holiday scams

  1. Practice good cybersecurity hygiene: never open emails from unknown senders, and don’t give up personal information and credit card details unless you know and trust the receiver.
  2. Don’t click on unknown links: as a rule of thumb, if you don’t know the sender, don’t open links.
  3. Pay by credit card: never wire money directly to a seller. Opt for a credit card payment and check your statement on a regular basis.
  4. Don’t conduct any online businesses through public Wi-Fi: your data, including your credit card numbers, passwords, and personal information, can be intercepted by scammers using a technique known as a man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attack.

What to do if you think you were scammed

  1. Contact your bank immediately
  2. Report the crime
  3. File a complaint with the FBI
  4. Freeze your credit reports
  5. Talk to us: it's better to be safe than sorry. Talk to our professionals, and let us help you develop a security plan for your business.

Final Thoughts

Holidays are synonymous with joy, sharing, and family reunions. However, they are also a time when scammers cook up nefast schemes to steal your personal data and credit card information.

Thus, you must take preventive measures to ensure that you are safe. If you suspect you may have been scammed, report the crime and freeze your credit reports. If you want to improve your company's cybersecurity, we are here to help! Our managed IT services technicians have vast experience and can help you focus on your core business while knowing you're safe from harm!

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