Here’s How to Be Safe from Upcoming Holiday Season Scams
Not every scam is designed to trick you at Christmas. However, most are variations on traditional frauds that have been heightened in response to seasonal spikes in spending and web traffic. They generally revolve around shopping, particularly online.
Moreover, these scams are becoming more prevalent with time. During last year’s festive season, the increase in shipping scams was about 5%, so you can imagine how vigilant you must be online.
Therefore, learning about these frauds and how you can tackle them is very important. The festive season is coming soon, a perfect time to gain some knowledge through this article to avoid losing your hard-earned money.
Types of Festive Season Scams
With online shopping growing rapidly, it’s more important than ever to keep your credit card information safe. First and foremost, do not store your payment information when making purchases on the internet. While this can make things easier for you while buying things online, it also increases the chances of having someone steal your personal information.
Also, activate real-time mobile alerts to receive a text message every time your credit card is used. So, you’ll be notified as soon as possible if someone gets access to your bank account or steals money using another method. These alerts will reduce the time between any credit card compromise and future digital theft.
If we talk of credit card frauds, the losses go up by a significant margin. As of last year, about $129 million were lost in credit card fraud. The amounts are gradually increasing every year, and our eagerness to purchase makes cybercriminals fearless in carrying out such crimes.
Also, be wary of fraudulent emails and phone calls regarding your credit card transactions. Never communicate with a bank or credit card company by email; instead, call or visit your bank or credit card firm directly.
However, cybercriminals often try to trick people into disclosing this type of information by posing as a representative of your institution in an email. You must act smart in such situations and avoid revealing any kind of information to them. Your bank or credit card company never asks for your PIN, password, or other personal information over the phone.
When using your credit card online, ensure you are on the site’s secure page by checking the protocol in the URL window. The “s” after HTTP stands for Secure and indicates that information sent between your computer and the web server will be encrypted, keeping it away from prying eyes.
Shipping Notification Scams
These types of scams are very tricky. It is more likely that you will get trapped by the shipping notification scam. In such scams, a cybercriminal pretends to be an official representative of a shipping company and tries to request your consumer details like credit card numbers. These criminals use fake phone numbers and contact information, and they try to make their call look like it’s coming from the company headquarters’ number.
This is a type of scam where fake charities and fake individuals request a donation. They promise to send some gifts to the orphanages and hospitals. But rather than sending anything, they steal money from your account once you try to donate online. So, if you want to make any donation, do it from the charity’s website and use your common sense to avoid these kinds of scams.
Ways to Avoid Such Scams
- Don’t trust every website. Look for the padlock icon in your browser, which indicates a secure connection between your computer and the webserver. Also, if you doubt a website that doesn’t look trustworthy, avoid shopping from it.
- Two-Factor authentication. This process ensures that sensitive data required for completing financial transactions remain safe from potential threats. A unique pin code is generated for each transaction sent on the user’s registered phone or email for double-checking. This code is valid only for a particular time interval, after which it becomes obsolete.
- Avoid free Wi-Fi. Free public Wi-Fi hotspots are dangerous and not secure. Hackers can easily exploit them to spy on your activities when you’re logged in to them.
- Use a Virtual Private Network. A VPN service provides the best security options to encrypt all your traffic and hide your location. It will help secure your connection on unsafe HTTP websites.
- Don’t click on any random link in the text. If you receive a suspicious email or text, never click on any links in that message. Most of such links are fake, and the moment you click on them, they will steal sensitive information from your device.
- Avoid sharing your password. Sharing your password of any financial or app account can lead to complete identity theft. So, it is advised not to share your passwords with anyone.
With the increasing cyber-attacks being reported daily, it has become more necessary to be vigilant and check whether you are being scammed or not. The best way of avoiding scams is to stay updated on what’s happening around you. Follow your intuition; if something looks fishy, don’t proceed without verifying it first. Finally, keep safety as your priority during online transactions.