‘Tis the Season for Cyber Crimes

Cyber-crimes happen all year, but it is during the holidays that they ramp up even more.  This is the time of year where people are more distracted and often too frazzled to realize that they are being targeted with a scam.

These are the most common holiday scams to look out for, and the tips you need to prevent them from happening:

  1. Gift Card Scams: Gift cards are untraceable, which makes them a popular scam. Scammers try to tell people to pay a fee with a gift card so they won’t get in trouble with the government, or they pretend to be a family member who needs the funds for a specific gift card purchase.
    TIP: If someone demands payment from a gift card, it is most likely a scam.
  1. Charity Scams: Scammers rush people into making a donation online or over the phone.  They will also sometimes trick them into thanking them for a donation they never made and then ask for payment.
    TIP: Always research the charity before making a donation.
  2. Holiday Job Scams: A job posting for a temporary holiday worker will sometimes ask for the applicant to pay for application or training fees. They will also offer high wages for easy tasks.
    TIP:  Request an official offer letter, including compensation and job duties, before accepting the job.
  1. Package Delivery Scams: Delivery scam emails and texts include a fake tracking link.  The link can lead to a screen that asks you to enter your personal information, or it can just install malware.  Calls and voicemail messages are also popular attempts that can result in expensive fees and per-minute rates.
    TIP: If you receive a delivery notification that is unexpected, be cautious.  You can also contact the courier directly to be sure it is real.
  1. Gift Exchange Scams: Gift exchanges on social media, such as the “Secret Sister” exchange, ask you for your personal information in order to receive a gift in return. Unfortunately, not everyone reciprocates and your information can be used to commit identity theft.
    TIP: Any gift exchanges seen on social media are most likely a scam and should be reported.

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