The holiday season is quickly approaching and although it’s a wonderful time of year, it also brings scams. Traditionally, the holidays mark a time in which fraudsters ramp up their scams and schemes. The FBI reported that the top two frauds most prevalent during the holiday season are non-delivery and non-payments schemes.
A non-delivery scam happens when a consumer purchases goods that they never receive and a non-payment scam occurs when a seller sends items to a consumer, but never receives payment. As with most scams, verification is crucial prior to purchasing or sending merchandise.
In 2023, there has been an increase specifically in social engineering scams. This type of fraud uses psychological deception designed to exploit human vulnerabilities, meaning scammers use fear, empathy, affinity, authority, and even curiosity to lure people into a phone call, text, email, or other interaction to begin their scheme. Most social engineering scams start with phishing phone calls and smishing text messages as they use the information collected from sources such as social media to create a lie or deception to start a conversation with you. It’s very important to always be wary of unsolicited phone calls or text messages even if the number is known. Remember, a best practice is to disconnect a phone call or not answer a text message if you are unsure of the person on the other end and verify the solicitor. This can be done by researching the person that is requesting information or contact local authorities or fraud experts for help and assistance.
Our Top Tips to Avoid Falling for Holiday Scams
- Verify websites prior to purchasing merchandise
- Double check the URL by hovering over the link with a cursor or mouse to see if it’s legitimate
- Do NOT click on suspicious websites or social media posts
- Do NOT click on hyperlinks in emails or texts if you have a bad feeling about them
- Be suspicious of phone calls from unknown numbers and soliciting emails
- Be suspicious of links asking to update passwords or account information
- Never send money directly to a seller via wire transfer
- Avoid paying with a gift card
- Use a credit card for payments and check the statement regularly for suspicious transactions
- Avoid donations, charities, or fundraisers that must be done immediately or pressure you
- Look closely at items that are heavily discounted
- Be wary of offers that seem “too good to be true”
What to do if You’ve Been Scammed
- Call your credit card company or your bank to dispute any suspicious charges.
- Contact local law enforcement.
- Report the scam to the
For more tips to help protect your personal information, check out our other blogs on Privacy & Cybersecurity and visit our identity theft information center. If you believe your personal information has been compromised or you have fallen victim to a scam, we’re here to help! Contact us or visit your local branch.