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How to Avoid Holiday Scams


1. Be wary of online shopping scams 

  • Is the advertised price too low to be true? Check the price for the item on other websites and see what it’s priced at on those sites. Avoid any unusual payment system for an online item, like a money order or wire transfer.
  • If you choose to pay from the website’s payment system, look for details that could indicate you are on a hacker-controlled website. There are cases when the scammers direct you to a fake payment site, so look at the web address of the page.

 2. How to stay away from gift card scams

  • Don’t click suspicious links on social media sites, even when the “special offer” comes from a friend.
  • As the saying goes, if the offer seems to good to be true, it probably is.  You can directly contact the official website of the product, or you can look it up on search engines and see what results appear.
  • Pay special attention when buying small animals, mobile devices, cars or motorbikes online, since they are some of the most used scamming items.
  • Don’t use Amazon gift card generator tools, websites or apps, they’re generally all scams.

3. How to detect charity scams

  • Check if the website is genuine before sending your money. The site may use official logos and appear as real. This doesn’t mean it is.
  • Contact charity groups directly to make your donation. Do not donate anything to intermediary people or suspicious sites.
  • If you are approached by a charity group or person and you are in doubt, check online for the organization’s name or the person’s name who requested the money.

4. How to see Christmas e-card scams for what they are

  • Pay attention to spam campaigns that try to push these phishing attempts to you.
  • If you receive a suspicious e-mail, do not open it, do not click any link or download any attachment.
  • Make sure you have not only antivirus protection, but also a good anti-spyware program.
  • Even if you receive such an e-mail from a friend, it doesn’t mean that he or she actually sent that e-mail.
  • According to the Kount Merchant Holiday Retail Guide, Cyber Monday 2017 saw the biggest increase in fraud attacks, at 134%.

5. How to identify winter holidays travel scams

  • Always buy airline tickets or book a travel offer from official travel websites.
  • If the price for the trip or for the flight may be too low to be true, it may actually be some sort of scam.

6. How to avoid Christmas screensavers bundle malware

  • Before decorating your PC with snow-laden houses, do make sure you’re visiting safe websites and not downloading anything malicious. You can do this by using a traffic-filtering software that blocks malicious websites and, of course, by having an antivirus installed.

7. How to identify shipping notification Christmas scams

  • This time of the year marks a big increase in the number of items purchased online and, at the same time, in the number of confirmation emails and shipping notifications we receive. But are all these notifications real? An email requesting an update on your shipment could be a disguised attempt to retrieve valuable information from your online banking account.
  • This email might or might not have an attachment that you are requested to download. You could be dealing with a phishing e-mail, an e-mail designed to spread ransomware or any other combination, so take precautions!

8. How to spot fake jobs, financial opportunities, and Christmas scams for loans

  • One of the busiest periods in recruitment is the holiday season. Job seekers around to world flock to job sites in order to boost their careers. Malicious hackers get a present as well: the personal details of those jobs seekers.
  • A popular method of gathering sensitive information is phishing via fake job sites. Unsuspecting victims simply give out their name, address, phone number and even SSN, thinking they’re applying for a job through an established career portal.
  • Another one is good old-fashioned emails from “recruiters” or “staffing agencies” – click the link and at best you give out your personal information, at worst you find yourself with a malware infection.