The December holidays are a wonderful time of the year. The season is filled with a magical aura as we come together for parties, family visits, and gift giving. Don’t let your guard down, though. The holiday season is also a time when thieves are looking to profit from your generosity.
As we officially enter the holiday season, it’s important to be on the lookout for scams, hacks, and frauds. Here are some typical holiday scams of which to be aware:
- Charity scams: ’Tis the season for giving—but be sure you know where you are contributing before donating any money. During this time of the year, many scammers will set up fake charities for a good cause but will use the donations fraudulently. Before donating, definitely research the charity to make sure it is legitimate.
- Gift card scams: Fraudsters have a lot of success with this simple scam during the holiday season: They write down gift-card information from unsold cards on store racks. Then, once the gift cards are bought and activated—they use the information to shop with them online. This scam can be tricky to combat, but if possible only buy gift cards from official retailers in the store or online.
- Holiday shopping phishing emails: Be on the lookout for emails advertising deals that seem too good to be true—or ask for your personal information. During the holiday shopping season, hackers will send phishing emails advertising sales that can download malware on your machine or steal private data. Remember the E.M.A.I.L. Rule (Examine message and inspect link) and delete any emails that seem at all questionable.