How To Avoid Scams During Holidays

how to avoid scams

How to avoid scams during holidays: Stay vigilant, verify deals, and learn common fraud signs!

During the festive season, the spirit of gift-giving and charity is in the air, but so is the risk of falling prey to cunning scammers and various holiday frauds.

This surge in spending acts as a beacon for these opportunists, leading to countless individuals being swindled each year. However, with the right knowledge about these scams, you can shield yourself from deceit. Below are the key indicators of the most prevalent holiday scams, enabling you to keep both yourself and your finances safe.

5 common holiday scams and tips how to prevent scams

As the holiday shopping fervor intensifies, scammers step up their game, aiming to profit from the increased spending.  They employ diverse tactics, often leveraging social engineering, to trap their targets. Therefore, before embarking on your shopping spree, familiarize yourself with the leading holiday scams to watch out for.

Holiday phishing scams

Posing as reputable entities like Amazon, Apple, or even government bodies, scammers dispatch millions of phishing emails and texts annually. Exploiting the holiday season, these communications typically allege missed deliveries, special holiday offers, or account security breaches. These messages almost invariably contain a link leading to a fraudulent website seeking personal information, or to malware.

Avoiding phishing scams

  1. Disregard messages from unknown senders.
  2. Verify directly with the company through official channels if you receive a suspicious message.
  3. Refrain from clicking links in dubious messages.
  4. Never divulge personal details unless you’re certain of the website’s authenticity.

Charity scams

The holiday season sees a spike in charitable giving, which scammers exploit by masquerading as legitimate charities to defraud generous individuals. They may claim to support recent disasters or crises, soliciting donations via email, counterfeit websites, or social media, with the funds ending up in their pockets instead of supporting the intended causes.

Preventing charity scams

  1. Research the charity online to confirm its legitimacy before donating.
  2. Use trusted platforms for donations, avoiding direct transfers or suspicious websites.
  3. If uncertain, opt for a well-established charity instead.

Fake online stores

The holidays witness the emergence of numerous fake online stores, offering sought-after items at too-good-to-be-true prices. These stores often disappear after collecting payments through untraceable methods like wire transfers or gift cards.

How to avoid fake store scams:

  1. Skepticism is key: if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.
  2. Examine the website closely for poor image quality, design flaws, grammatical errors, and questionable reviews.
  3. Be cautious of stores lacking contact information, refund policies, or an “About Us” section.
  4. Steer clear of shops insisting on insecure payment methods.

Social media scams

Scammers use social media to post fraudulent ads leading to fake stores, especially during the holidays, promising seasonal discounts on popular items.

Avoiding social media scams:

  1. Investigate the advertiser’s profile for signs of fraud, such as a recent creation date or few followers.
  2. Look for the aforementioned red flags on linked websites.
  3. Trust your instincts; avoid unfamiliar payment methods and questionable websites.

Holiday travel scams

With the holiday travel rush, scammers create bogus flight booking sites and cancellation notices, tricking victims into paying for non-existent flights.

Preventing holiday travel scams:

  1. Be cautious of ads or sites offering unrealistically low flight prices.
  2. Verify the legitimacy of flight booking sites for signs of fraud.
  3. Confirm any cancellation notices directly with the airline.

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