Top Topics:

Dec 10, 2018

5 Holiday Scams To Watch Out For This Year

PSA: Top 5 Holiday Scams To Watch Out For This Year

While you are celebrating the holidays, it is also very important you stay vigilant during the season. The scammers are not taking a break. Quite the opposite, they are using the cheerful atmosphere of the holidays to catch folks with their guard down as they are in a more giving mood. Make sure your shields are up.

“Secret sister” gift exchange scam

Where it is run: Facebook
Premise: This "gift exchange" promises that after donating at least one item worth $10 to a fellow participant, you’ll receive up to 36 gifts.
The bad:
This is a pyramid scheme in the form of a digital chain letter, which could be illegal, and also might expose your full home address
More on the scam from USPS

Phony Shipping Notifications

Holiday is a busy time. There is a lot of shopping and gifting to do. And that also means a lot of shipping of packages. When shopping online from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other retailers you will likely get an email notification of when your item will be shipped. One of the biggest holiday scams you might encounter this year is false shipping notifications.

Where it is run: Email
Premise: You might get an email that looks as if it’s from UPS or FedEx, it has company’s email template and logo so it looks real. The email says your shipment is on the way and you need to arrange for delivery and has a phrase or word linked. No actual URL as that would throw red flags.
The bad: When you click the link to update your shipping preferences or confirm something, you download keystroke logging malware that tracks your computer activity so personal information such as credit card numbers can be stolen.

Bogus Deal Sites

While searching for deals this holiday season make sure to stick to the old but very true mantra: beware of pricing that’s too good to be true. If you see a device that is a fraction of the price on a random site that is listed everywhere else, be careful. It is probably a "genuine fake," as they called watches sold on the street in Turkey. These gadgets are probably not from the brand that is listed and therefore might not be the same quality. Or it can be a bate and switch where they promise a small price at first, but after clicking through you might see a different price or exorbitant shipping and handling fees.
Where it is run: Web
The bad: By getting a "deal" you can actually be wasting money on something that is of poor quality or not at all what you are expected. So instead of saving money, you spent extra on something that might not be of use.

Fake Charities

This is the season of giving. Not surprising it is also the season of the most and highest donations to charities. It is a great thing to give to a good cause. And it should be done beyond just the holidays, though if more people do it during this time, it is still better than nothing. And while you are in a giving and receiving move, you also need to be vigilant and look out for the bad apples. The unscrupulous types love this time of the season just as much as it makes for easier scamming.

Where it is run: Web, phone, email
Premise: Scammers to take advantage of people’s generosity by calling them up and pressuring into donating over the phone. Or send emails that sound as though they are from legitimate charity and ask for a donation to be wired, paid via gift card, or provide credit card information.
The bad: Watch out for aggressive pitches and high-pressure tactics over the phone. If a name of a charity sounds almost identical to established charities, check before you give. You can look them up online, call a phone number listed for the actual charity or 411, or check with and Charity Navigator. And watch out for spammy emails. Go the same route to verify who the email is for as before, plus check the full from email. Most of the time the actual email address will not have correct names but some random source.

Porch Pirates

This scam is exactly what it sounds like, people stealing packages right off the porch. Even before the holiday season got rolling there were quite a few reports of packages being swiped from front doors. Especially nowadays with online shopping over taking shopping in stores, there are more packages shipped then ever before.

Where it is run: Front door
Premise: Simple, see packages in front of the door, walk up grab it and go.
The bad: During the holidays and with all of the online shopping there are more packages than ever being left in front of the doors, in the hallways, by mailboxes. And with several different companies making the deliveries, they all do it differently and take different precautions.
The good: How to fix it -
» Use Amazon Locker - this is a great option if you don't have a building with a doorman or have a house with an easily accessible porch. The packages get delivered to a local business that has the Locker installed. All you have to do is walk straight up to the locker, enter the code provided to you once the package is delivered, and grab your package from one of the shelves. That is it. The local business gets the foot traffic and you get a more secure package delivery. Of course, not all packages can be delivered to the Locker as there is a limit to the size that the shelves can accommodate.
» Have Packages Delivered to Your Workplace/Office. This is a good option if you have a small office or the mail is accessible. Offices get mail all the time and usually have a specific area where they receive and collect them, and there is always a person to accept it. The drawback of sending to the office, however, is that there could be quite a few people that answer the door for the delivery person and accept the package and then you have to track down where it ended up. I know from experience that while it is a decent option, I have had several issues with finding the packages that said were delivered but were not in the mail file.
» Install Security Cameras. Doorbell with built-in cameras, such as the Ring Video Doorbell, are great for this as not only are you able to see who is at your door, but they also have motion sensing technology that starts recording once there is movement around the door. This way you can either capture thieves on camera or hopefully thwart a would be one because they notice the camera.
» Require a signature for delivery. This way the delivery person cannot just drop a package within some vicinity of your door and walk away. This is a good idea especially for more expensive packages or those that are custom made and not easily replicable.

Glitter Bomb Trap for Porch Pirates:

Did You Know?
A recent study of billions for phone calls showed that the number of fraudulent call in early 2018 has increased to 30%, rising from 4% in early 2017. This increase is partially driven by technology and success of spoofing. These scammers disguise their phone numbers with numbers that use nearby area codes and local prefixes to trick people into thinking it someone that they might know in the area.

Buy reliable VPN for desktop and mobile for travel and at home

Best Anti-Theft USB Charging Travel Gadget Backpack

Amazon's shopping guide with curated luggage by airlines

Shop All-new Kindle Travel Gear

Sound-off: What do you think? Let us know below
If you found this page useful in your gadget search, please recommend us:

Follow us  RSS Feedfollow us in feedly
Sign up for free blog updates

No comments:

Post a Comment

Travel Gadgets