Fraud Alert This Holiday Season

December 17, 2018 10:41 am

Threat Level:  3

Cyber Monday may have already come and gone, but it’s important to be aware of a threat that can not only take place during that time, but also take place year-round.  There have been two gift card fraud scams that have been affecting shoppers, especially during this holiday season.


One scenario occurs when cyber-criminals use “dirty” money to buy gift cards.  They then sell the gift cards on third-party sites at a discounted rate, which would be laundering their funds.  If the seller sells a $50 gift card that they know they will never use for $30, they can keep the cash in return for it.  The reason this causes a risk to the buyer of the gift card is because the gift cards can be invalidated once it’s found out that they were bought with stolen money.


Cyber-criminals also use “dirty” money to buy gifts cards in order to purchase legitimate goods.  These goods can be re-sold on eBay, or other similar sites, to customers who are unaware of these scams.  Although customers most likely will be refunded if the scam is caught in time, a lot of time and effort is wasted in the meantime.


Besides running the risk of faulty gift cards, there are also phishing emails that are designed to be sent out specifically during a high sales period.  It is highly recommended to not click on any links or open any attachments, even if it seems to be from a trusted source. Phishing emails can also be disguised as coming from credit card providers.  It’s not always easy to be able to tell if an email is legitimate or not, and some shoppers who don’t suspect a scam are willing to respond by providing their credit card number and other personal information.


It’s important to be aware of the scams and threats that are out there so that your time during the holidays, as well as the rest of the year, can be spent enjoying the company of your family and friends!


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