The most wonderful time of the year is officially upon us, but along with the hustle, bustle and holiday shopping comes a whole new wave of seasonal scams. From pilfering personal information to package theft, there’s no shortage of fraudsters having their names added to the naughty list this time of year. Learn what to watch out for so you can keep the holidays merry and bright.
Fake Charity Scams
Scammers know that hearts and wallets open during the holiday season, which impels some to ask for charitable donations to fake causes through email, funding sites and social media. Before you click the donate button, do a little research and ensure that your generosity is supporting a legitimate cause. If an email contains grammatical errors or looks suspicious, it probably is. Visit an organization’s website directly to make a donation, rather than clicking the link in an unsolicited email. With over 195,000 registered charities, check Charity Navigator to confirm an organization’s legitimacy prior to making a donation.
Fake Gift Cards & Giveaways
Be wary if you find that you’ve suddenly won a free holiday gift card or giveaway in a contest you don’t remember entering. Fraudsters use this tactic to lure people into providing personal information, which they then sell to cyber criminals. Never provide information like your name, mailing address, social security number or bank information to any unverified contacts over email or the phone.
With an increase in online holiday shopping and shipping comes an increase in holiday thievery. In recent years, a favorite trend of criminals is following behind delivery trucks to steal packages off front porches after they are delivered. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce your odds of falling prey to porch theft. Installing a security camera or a camera doorbell will not only capture a thief in the act, these devices are often enough to deter criminals from targeting your home entirely. Additionally, motion-activated lights call attention to any activity that may occur after dusk, making the task of porch pirating more inconvenient and risky.
If you work somewhere you can receive packages, consider having shipments delivered to your office so they aren’t sitting on your porch unattended for hours. If this isn’t an option, check out Amazon Locker locations in your area for any Amazon orders. These lockers allow you to stop by and pick up your deliveries at your convenience using an electronic code.