Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Green this Christmas5 min read
Shopping during the holiday season is a festive time. Picking out the perfect gift to put under the tree is one of the best feelings in the world. Unfortunately, the Grinch who steals Christmas is much more real than people think. The holiday season is second only to tax season when it comes to monetary loss for Americans who get scammed by a fraudulent phone call, email, or online transaction. Older people are especially susceptible to getting swindled this season because they often have more money in savings and less debt than younger couples or people with young children. Therefore, they are more alluring targets for people committing fraud because criminals can take larger sums from people with a large savings, especially under the guise of a “holiday deal.” According to Maria Lamagna, a reporter for Market Watch, victims of fraud during the holiday season average a whopping $430 per person. This cumulated in an astounding $9.5 billion stolen from American consumers. This week and next week, we’re going to take a look at five of the most common fraudulent calls, emails, advertisements, and websites Americans are likely to encounter during the holidays, how to recognize them, and how to confront them if you need to. Remember that this is in no way a comprehensive list; our best advice is to always exit your browser or hang up the phone in any situation you deem suspicious.
This scam is typically an email, social media advertisement, or phone call that promises deals on hot holiday items. Typically they will be tech gifts during the holiday season, but they can also be cookware sets or other large ticket items. Once you give your credit card information and home delivery details, whether it be on the phone or online, the scammers use it to steal from you. Be wary of ads on Facebook or Twitter with suspicious links or emails from big name retailers who don’t have their company name associated with their email. For example, if you get an email from “Tech Company Inc.” the email address associated with it should be something like “MyTechCompanyInfo@email.techcompany.com.” If the sender’s email doesn’t match the company, don’t click any links associated with that email. If you deem a phone call suspicious, do not give out your information and hang up immediately.
The false package scam has been around for years, but the internet makes it even easier for con artists to seem credible. In the confusion of multiple holiday emails from various retailers, these scams disguise themselves as a way to track a package. As soon as you click the link to track your package, you’re sent through multiple steps to “confirm your identity.” In reality, scammers are taking your information. These scams sometimes use UPS, FedEx, or USPS symbols, so only click to track packages on items you recognize and remember buying. Typically, retailers will send you their own confirmation email once you buy an item. Oftentimes you can use that to safely track your package.
Read about the three other common holiday scams on our blog next week and share this blog with your friends and relatives young and old to save them from the real life Grinch. If you feel you’ve been the victim of a fraudulent phone call, email, or ad, call the local police immediately.