Don't Get Taken by a Christmas Scam
‘Tis the season to enjoy family memories, open presents, and give to charity. However, Christmas is also the time when criminals make more money than they do at any other time of year. Learn how to protect yourself from a Christmas scam.
Common Christmas Scams
Here are some of the more common Christmas scams that thieves often pull on innocent victims during the holiday season, along with some of the steps you can take to protect yourself against them. Hopefully, these tips will help you to keep your Christmas merry and bright, instead of scary and full of fright!
- ‘Emergency’ Scam – In this classic scam, someone contacts you and tries to convince you that your loved one is experiencing some kind of an emergency and needs funds, which must be sent to him or her by wire transfer.
- Fake Charities – Scammers call or knock on your door to solicit donations for charities that do not exist.
- Online Scams – Thieves steal your information via the Internet, from sources such as downloaded e-Card viruses or malicious mobile apps.
- Travel Scams – You are promised a low-cost luxury vacation. To secure the price, you only need to make a small down-payment. Later though, when you try to book your trip, the company will have gone out of business, or has terms and conditions that are impossible to meet, leaving you out in the cold.
- Fake Gift Cards – You pay for a gift card, but when it arrives it has a zero balance on it.
- Great Bargains – Items are offered with steep discounts, and you later discover this is because the items were actually stolen.
- Stolen Packages – Thieves scan the area for any boxes that have been left unaccompanied and treat themselves to your Christmas presents.
Protecting Yourself from Being Scammed
Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect yourself – and your wallet – when you’re doing your holiday shopping, including:
- Avoid Public WiFi - While many stores advertise free WiFi, it can cost you in the long run. That’s because public Wifi is usually not secure.
- Update your Computer Security - Make sure that you have anti-virus and malware protection software installed on your computer. Clean out your cookies and browsing history to ensure that your financial information is not being stored on any of your devices.
- Use a Credit Card - If you do decide to shop for Christmas gifts online, use a credit card. It will typically provide you with more protection if fraudulent purchases are made with your card. When ordering online, look in the URL for an “s” after the ‘http’ to ensure that the site is a secure one.
- Reroute Packages - Don’t leave your packages unattended. If you do not have a doorman or similar service, consider having your packages delivered to you at work, or pay an extra fee to schedule a delivery when you know someone will be available to receive them. You can also provide specific instructions on where to leave your packages or require a signature on delivery.
- Check out Charities and Other Requests for Money - If a charity calls you looking for a donation, find out first if you’re dealing with a legitimate charity. If you’re not sure, avoid giving out any personal or financial information over the phone. Ask them to mail an information package to you, or alternatively, make your donation through your bank or via their (verified) website. And anytime someone calls you asking you to send them money by wire transfer, JUST SAY NO.
Don’t let devious people take advantage of you this holiday season. Contact Linked Investigations today to find out how our licensed private investigators can help protect you this holiday season.