‘Tis the season for scammers to steal your identity and financial information, unfortunately. Online fraud attempts increased 22% last year over the holiday season (between Thanksgiving Day and December 31), according to ACI Worldwide. Here are some of the latest holiday scams that thieves are using to try to steal your personal and payment information — and tips on how to avoid scammers’ efforts:
Fake Shipping Notification Scams
You probably get a lot of shipping notifications during the holidays for all those gifts you’ve purchased that are being delivered to you or your loved ones. However, you should be cautious about clicking on links in emails that appear to be from major shipping companies, because scammers have become pretty convincing at sending phishing emails that include logos and names to look legitimate to entice you to click in and provide personal information.
- What to look out for: If an email from a major retailer asks you to click to confirm an email address or requests that you enter a credit card number to confirm anything, it may be fraudulent. Delivery services do not need your personal information to deliver an item.
- What to do if you think you’re being scammed: Only use the main, secured websites from the companies you purchased items from, and refer to only those sites for any shipping details or tracking information. You can also navigate directly to the company who is going to be delivering your items (UPS, Fed-Ex, etc.) to plug in any tracking information.
You can often get some additional tax breaks in before the end of the year by making some charitable donations. However, you should make sure that any organization you’re giving to is legitimate, because scammers have taken to posing as charitable business entities to get money from victims.
- What to look out for: If you get a phone call from someone soliciting money for a charity, don’t provide payment information over the phone. Do your research on sites like charitynavigator.org to ensure you’re contributing to deserving, legitimate causes.
- What to do if you think you’re being scammed: It’s always okay to take the extra time to ensure you’re giving to a legitimate organization. Don’t provide payment or personal information if you suspect anything fishy.
More Resources on the Latest Scams
It’s wise to stay informed and know what to be on the lookout for during the holidays and throughout the entire year. You can learn more about scamming attempts by checking out these websites:
- Federal Trade Commission – Scam Alerts
- Identity Theft Resource Center
- Latest FBI Press Releases on Scams
Whether it’s the holiday season or not, smart consumers can take precautions to protect themselves before scammers attempt to strike. It’s important to be aware and do what you can to make sure you are conducting legitimate transactions with businesses and organizations who will not put your information at risk. Click here to learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself.