The holiday season is a popular time for shopping, shipping, receiving email notifications, ecards, and earning a bit of extra cash. Unfortunately, scams can also be aplenty. Don’t let scammers take advantage of you! Protect yourself with these tips from Direct Auto Insurance.
Fake Web Stores:
‘Tis the season for holiday shopping! However, before confirming your purchase, be alert to fake web stores that sell knockoff products or never actually ship the goods you paid for.
Before buying gifts online, research unfamiliar ecommerce sites, read reviews, check the URL and website for grammatical errors, confirm the store’s contact information, only pay with a credit card, check that the URL starts with “https,” and consider if their super low price is too good to be true.
Bogus Email Notifications:
Get an email from a store you didn’t order from? Beware: it could be a “phishing” attempt to steal your information. Thieves pretending to be a legitimate business may ask you to “click here” and provide personal details to review things like phony shipping information or a nonexistent problem with your order.
Unless you’ve placed an order with the company or are expecting a package, don’t click on the link. If you do click the link and personal information is requested, stop and close the browser window. To verify whether it’s a real notification, search the company’s name in a search engine and visit the website to enter the details, or call the number listed on their contact page.
Holiday Hiring Scams:
The holiday season is a prime time for finding temporary work, and criminals try to take advantage of this by advertising fraudulent positions that could be disguised as work-from-home or “secret shopper” jobs attempting to take your money, steal your personal information, and rip you off.
Before you make contact, research the company online by reading reviews and visiting the Better Business Bureau website. In general, be wary of jobs that hire on the spot, conduct interviews online only, lack contact information on their website, and require an upfront payment to accept the position.
If you’re planning to make a charitable contribution, don’t let scammers take advantage of your generosity. Phony charities can either pose as well-known nonprofits, or invent their own name, but will ask for donations that end up in their personal bank account.
Do your research before you donate. Use an online resource like Charity Navigator or GuideStar to confirm the organization is legit. If possible, avoid making cash, gift card, or wired donations — and make sure you know where your donation is going.
Electronic greeting cards are a popular way to spread holiday cheer. However, what may look like a legitimate holiday ecard could actually be spam, spyware, or a computer virus in disguise.
If you recognize the name of the sender, it’s probably safe to open the ecard. However, to be sure, run a virus scan on your email messages, contact the friend or family member to verify they sent it, or visit the ecard company directly to open.
Better Business Bureau