Beware of Holiday Scams
Every year, thousands of people become victims of holiday scams.

Submitted by ltownsend on November 21, 2022

It’s that time of year when online shopping is ramping up for the holidays. And every year, thousands of people become victims of holiday scams when they shop. Scammers can rob you of hard-earned money, personal information, and, at the very least, a festive mood. It’s best to be aware of the possible scams and how to avoid them.

Two most common holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes: 

  • Non-delivery scam: this occurs when a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. 
  • Non-payment scam: this scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid.

How to Avoid Scams During the Holidays

Good cybersecurity takes practice and awareness.

Don't click on suspicious links or attachments in emails, social media, or text messages. Be cautious if a company provides a link for you to update your password, that you didn't request. Be cautious if the link to an offer or product doesn't look right or it sounds too good to be true. Better safe than sorry.
Know who you are buying from or selling to.

Check website URLs to verify it's a legitimate, secure site -- and you are where you think you should be. Check for misspelled words in web addresses, a hacker’s favorite trick. If you are purchasing from a company for the first time, do research on the company and the product; look at reviews and check out their return policy. Always verify the legitimacy of a seller or buyer before following through with the transaction.

Be careful how you pay.

  • Never wire money directly to a seller.
  • Avoid paying for items with pre-paid gift cards. In this scam scenario, a seller will ask for your gift card number and PIN. Instead of using the gift card for the intended purchase they will steal the funds on the card.
  • Use a credit card for shopping online and check your balance and statement regularly. If you see any suspicious transactions, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.

Additionally, monitor the shipping progress of your online purchases. Always get tracking numbers for items you buy online so you can follow the delivery process.

Being diligent in examining who you are purchasing from, or selling to, and you can avoid becoming a victim this holiday season.