Hackers put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with new ways to fool the unsuspecting consumer, especially during the holiday season. Here are some scams you should watch for in the coming month.
Bogus Charity Websites
Increasingly, hackers are setting up fake charity websites to scam people with good intentions. To guarantee that you’re donating to a reputable charity, make sure the charity you’re considering is registered with the Secretary of State and find out how much of your contribution will go to the charitable fundraiser and how much will go to the needy.
Fake Gift Cards
Gift cards are often purchased as last-ditch present ideas for birthdays or holidays, but they are also one of the primary ways scammers use to make a quick buck. If you see deals on online auction sites for discounted gift cards, beware — the cards could easily be stolen, making them worthless. Make sure that you purchase gift cards from trusted, licensed vendors.
It’s sometimes difficult to coordinate package delivery to your home while you’re there. That’s why it is has become common for thieves to follow delivery trucks around, then grab packages off porches moments after they have been delivered. To keep this from becoming a problem, ask that your package require a signature upon delivery, or have it shipped to your work address.
Credit Card Skimmers
Though this one has been around for several years, it’s still widespread. Some thieves use credit card skimming devices to steal your data from ATMs or point-of-sale terminals. Always take note of the device that you’re using to pay with a card to ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with.
Stay Safe Online
To stay safe this holiday season follow this brief list of security best practices:
- Before submitting any sensitive information, look for the padlock icon in the address bar, along with HTTPS at the beginning of the URL.
- Only shop on websites that have a good reputation.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping online.
- Be skeptical of unsolicited emails in your inbox, especially when it comes to fake invoices and bogus shipping orders.