Top 10 Holiday Scams

With the holiday season upcoming, it’s important to be aware of the most common cybercrimes from last season, as they will likely reemerge in a similar flavour. The following is a list of the top 10 holiday scams to keep an eye out for this holiday season:

1. Black Friday Deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest online shopping days of the year. Because of this fact, criminals look to prey on victims and get rich with your money. Be wary and don’t buy anything that seems “too good to be true”.

2. Complimentary Apple Watch

Be watchful for any coupons that seem larger than life and offer free watches, tablets or phones on websites throughout the internet. They are surely a scam and will look to victimize you with your personal information.

3. Postal Deliveries

Scammers commonly send fake alerts through text or email notifying you of a package that has been delivered. Although these alerts may appears to be from UPS, FedEx or the US/Canada Post, they are illegitimate and will try to elicit your personal information. Do not fall for it and think carefully before acknowledging/responding to such requests.

4. Fake Refunds

There’s a recent fake refund scam circling that can come from a hotel, Amazon or a retail chain. The scam claims that there was a “wrong transaction” and will prompt you to “click for a refund”, but instead will infect your device with malware.

5. The Grinch E-Card Greetings

Watch out for e-cards that look festive and wish you a happy holidays, leaving you to assume that they’re from a friend – quite the opposite. Malicious e-cards are being distributed by the millions. Look out for them, particularly at the office, and never open any email that looks suspicious.

6. The Fake Gift Card Trick

Internet fraudsters pretend to send gift cards through social media but what they are really gunning for is your personal information, which they then sell to other cyber criminals who will attempt to steal your identity. An example of this is a common Facebook scam that offers a complimentary $1,000 Best Buy gift card to the first 20,000 subscribers.

7. The Charity Tricksters

As sad as it is, crooks will try to use charity as a guise for crime. Although the holidays are traditionally a time for charity and giving, it has also become an ideal time for cyber criminals to prey on their victims. Be very careful where you make charitable donations, as you could mistakenly be funding criminals or even terrorists. Watch out for communication from charities that ask for donations, and be sure to vet them diligently. As a best practice, only donate to charities you’re familiar with.

8. The DM-Scam

When tweeting about holiday gifts and you receive a direct message from another twitter user offering to sell you something, be very cautious. This could very well be a sophisticated scam. If you do not know the sender, be wary and never pay up front.

9. The Extra Holiday-Money Fraud

Because people are desperate for money around the holiday seasons, cyber criminals will offer work from home scams. These scams range from a simple form asking for your social security number, or as sophisticated as indirectly asking you to become a part of a cyberheist which could carry significant jail time.

10. The Evil Wi-Fi Twin

Whenever you’re in a public building using unsecured Wi-Fi connections, be very careful and avoid entering your credit card numbers. Scammers commonly set up their own Wi-Fi hotspot so that they can track your personal and financial information when you purchase items online. Whenever you’re using a Wi-Fi connection outside of your home, do not enter any personal or confidential information.

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Jennifer Schneider
2 weeks
A serious error in judgment on my behalf has put me at risk of ID theft. During a phone call I supplied personal info to someone who I believed was with Revenue Canada. Immediately after I realized I had fallen for the CRA scam. Shame on me!  Since the incident I've been frantically taking steps to fend off the dire repercussions that such a mistake can have. This has included: Filing a police report, Filing a report with the Canada Anti Fraud center, Adding flags to my bank accounts, Putting up Fraud alerts on the 2 main credit bureau's. I've even purchased some Identity theft tracker software to monitor my info. I contacted Investigation hotline to see if there was any additional measures I could take. The agent applauded me on the steps I had already taken. They also had knowledge about the CRA phone scam itself that helped settle my nerves somewhat. With all the fear and anxiety I've been enduring for the last while it was assuring to speak with someone familiar with the actual risk potential.
Jennifer Schneider
1 month
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