Online Scam: The holiday season is a period of heightened activity for scammers and fraudsters, who are currently exerting extra effort to deceive you and exploit your financial resources, as well as potentially steal your identity.
Below are various categories of fraudulent activities that one should be cautious about during holiday periods.
1. ‘The delivery of your package was unsuccessful.’
You may receive unsolicited emails from senders such as FedEx SmartPost and FedEx 2Day A.M., even though you have no recollection of placing any orders.
However, by examining the sender’s address, it becomes apparent that the email originated from a website located in a different nation.
exercise caution when receiving any email including a hyperlink. If you have any uncertainty regarding a package delivery, it is advisable to directly call FedEx, UPS, or even the U.S. Postal Service. Avoid clicking on the provided hyperlink.
2. Obtain a correspondence from Santa Claus
Scams sometimes occur when receiving offers from dubious online sources that promise personalized letters to Santa.
Exercise caution when encountering any email or website purporting to be the authoritative platform for Santa correspondence, unless it originates from the United States Postal Service.
To facilitate the delivery of a personalized response from Santa Claus to your child, you may adhere to the instructions provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) available at this link. It is free, except for the postage fee.
Conclusion: Utilize the provided hyperlink and disregard any other information encountered on the internet or sent via email.
3. Please proceed to update your billing information.
The sender, identified as “yoigheseerifartho,” informs you that your credit card information for PayPal is no longer valid. The email may potentially be dispatched to an address that you do not typically utilize for PayPal.
Key point: Ensure that you keep track of the specific email addresses you utilize for banking and online transactions, to easily identify any Online Scam attempting to deceive you with a different email address.
You may consider establishing a dedicated location for Christmas shopping to utilize temporarily and dispose of after the holiday season. Ensure that you consistently navigate to the official business website and authenticate yourself to modify any details about your account.
4. Counterfeit applications
Exercise caution when encountering applications that may seem to originate from your preferred retail establishments, as they may be devised to illicitly acquire your credit card details.
The Online Scamer develops a deceptive application that mimics a retail business or another corporate entity, providing reduced prices on branded products. Assuming that you are engaging in a transaction with a prominent retail corporation, you proceed to input your credit card details to avail yourself of advantageous offers.
However, you are truly disclosing confidential information. Some fraudulent schemes provide holiday-themed programs that surreptitiously extract information.
it is advisable to verify the publisher’s authenticity before downloading an application to ensure its accuracy and legitimacy. Exercise caution when encountering applications that exhibit subpar English translations, have been recently published, lack reviews, and do not have any earlier iterations.
Before downloading an application, it is advisable to verify the website of the app store. It is advisable to always access the URL from a retailer’s verified website.
5. Complimentary items
Emails, SMS messages, and social media postings that offer complimentary goods ranging from digital books to extravagant cruises might serve as a means to obtain personal information.
Certain links may contain malware that is installed upon clicking, often disguised as further information. Others direct users to online surveys specifically created to illicitly obtain personal information.
Certain entities necessitate the provision of a credit card to account for ambiguous charges related to shipping and handling, or to secure reservation deposits.
it is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s or provider’s website for details regarding the deal. Unless explicitly mentioned, consider it to be a fraudulent scheme.
6. Unauthorized computer utilization
The FBI has received a significant influx of complaints over a form of malicious software known as “ransomware.”
The process is as follows: You receive a fraudulent email claiming to be from the FBI, stating that your internet address has been flagged by the FBI or the Department of Justice Computer Crime Department for engaging in illegal online activities, and as a result, your computer access is being restricted.
To gain access, you are instructed to remit a penalty to circumvent legal repercussions. Clicking will result in the infiltration of malware onto your machine.
7. Abbreviated Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)
Hyperlinks that have been abbreviated in an email have the potential to redirect you to a website that is intended to cause harm or exploit your information.
Many of us are familiar with and have utilized services such as bit.ly, ow.ly, and TinyURL to condense lengthy URLs on social media platforms. Consequently, we tend to place our trust in these links when clicking on them.
In summary, it is crucial to ascertain the primary source before accessing a shortened URL. Certain URL shortening services, such as TinyURL, provide preview functionalities.
Additional websites, such as unfurlr.com, can provide you with the source. Before going on the site, utilize these services if you have any uncertainty.
An email is received from an individual claiming to be a “friend” who reports that his wallet has been stolen. The sender requests that you transfer funds to the URL specified in the email.
it is advisable to communicate with your friend by alternative means, such as offline or using a different email account, to verify that their address book has not been compromised by an Online Scam.
9. Theft occurring at one’s doorstep.
To prevent becoming a victim of theft by “porch pirates,” arrange for a delivery that necessitates a signature upon receiving the package.
Opt for an Amazon Locker location as the destination for your Amazon item, and thereafter retrieve it by utilizing a unique code. To avail of this service, locate a locker and designate its location as a shipment alternative during the checkout process.
10. Toll-free numbers that incur charges
You may receive a telephone call with the opportunity to consolidate or diminish your debt burden, or to manage conflicts regarding a bill. Alternatively, the caller or automated voice will inform you of any pending bills that require immediate attention.
You will be transferred to an international 900 number, which may incur charges of $2 or more per minute.
it is advisable to refrain from dialing a prompt for “more information” or “shop now” from a caller, particularly if it is a pre-recorded voice.
The National Consumers League’s Online Scam prevention website advises individuals to safeguard themselves throughout the year by requesting their phone service provider to implement a restriction on outbound calls to 900 numbers from their telephone.
11. ‘I have strong affection for you’
The incidence of romantic Online scams is increasing. As per the FBI, in the year 2020, a total of 23,000 victims reported damages exceeding $605 million.
These prospective targets willingly share personal information on dating and social media platforms. Perpetrators build a connection with the targeted individual, cultivate her confidence, and ultimately suggest matrimony.
He requests a face-to-face meeting but consistently fails to follow through. Subsequently, he requests monetary funds, perhaps claiming that he requires the currency to facilitate a visit.
it is advisable to always be connected to the internet and use email as a means to sustain a conversation. Avoid transferring funds to individuals that you lack personal acquaintance with. Further information regarding this Online Scam scheme and strategies to avoid falling victim to it can be found.
Ensure that you allocate sufficient time to make purchases exclusively on a secure website that use encryption to safeguard your details, including your address and credit card number.
Internet shopping offers the advantage of time and cost savings, but caution should be exercised when dealing with websites that attempt to obtain sensitive information.
ensure that the web address begins with “https” (where the “s” stands for secure).
Several websites employ encryption solely on the sign-in page, but, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions that if any portion of your session lacks encryption, the entirety of your account may be susceptible to security breaches.
Ensure that every page of the website you are visiting uses the secure HTTPS protocol, not only the page where you enter your credentials.
We all have a strong inclination towards philanthropy, particularly when it comes to philanthropic organizations that focus on the welfare of children. However, do not let your benevolence make you vulnerable to being deceived or taken advantage of. Exercise caution when receiving calls from individuals purporting to represent a charitable organization and soliciting credit card details over telephone.
I have a strict policy of declining to donate to a charity that inefficiently utilizes donation funds by sending me unrequested and unsolicited small incentives, such as personalized return mail stickers or notepads.
Develop a yearly financial plan that accommodates philanthropic contributions, and remain loyal to reputable charitable institutions.
Essentially, it is advisable to assess the charity’s rating through one of the charity rating sites before donating.
Visit Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, both of which evaluate organizations by assessing the proportion of donor funds allocated to programs versus those used for fundraising and administrative salaries.
14. ‘Help assistance from relatives’
Someone purporting to be a grandchild, niece, or nephew in their teens or college years contacts you, seeking assistance. He requires financial assistance to secure his release from incarceration or to resolve his current state of being stranded with no means of returning to his place of residence.
The Elder Abuse division of the Manhattan District Attorney‘s Office in New York City has reported that seniors, typically aged 70 and beyond, are being specifically targeted by an Online Scam known as the “grandchild” scam. These individuals are often more trusting and less knowledgeable about technology compared to others.
Scammers manipulate individuals’ emotions and possess exceptional skills in persuading them that their circumstances are extremely urgent. Online Scam activity is also carried out through electronic mail or social networking platforms, with a higher frequency of such attempts observed around holiday periods.
Conclusion: Terminate the call or prevent the individual from accessing your social media accounts. Notify the occurrence to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by visiting ftc.gov/complaint or by dialing 1-877-FTC-HELP.