Holiday, Christmas and New Years Scams
With the holidays ramping up and Christmas cheer spreading across the country, many people are ready for the rest and relaxation that comes with the season. But there is one thing that never rests: scams. While the rest of us are letting our guards down, scammers are using the popularity and busyness of the season to exploit the unsuspecting and the unprepared. During a time when online shopping is at an all time high, particularly due to the hesitancy surrounding in-person shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic, online traffic reaches a peak that scammers can take full advantage of.
One common scam during the holiday season is an online purchase scam that involves overcharging a customer for an incorrectly advertised product. So while someone may be eager to purchase the item, particularly during a time when there are significant supply chain concerns in many industries, they may overpay in their haste and miss the details, resulting in receiving an item they did not wish to purchase in the first place. An easy way to avoid these types of scams is to take your time and do your research. If an item is priced too well to be true, it is likely a scam. Conduct store and price comparisons before you purchase anything online.
Consumers should also be wary of all advertisements during the holiday season. Everyone is out looking for a deal and may be quick to fall for a Facebook or other social media ad that promises the lowest deals for the best products. There are many fake advertisements for large companies (i.e. Amazon) that can take you to a fake website filled with malware and data mining software. These advertisements may also lead you to purchase counterfeit goods or even pay for items that you will never receive. The best way to verify these offers is to investigate on the company’s main website that you navigate to from your own browser, and not through clicking an advertisement.
Another common scam during the holiday season are free gift cards. Often impersonating legitimate companies, a scammer may offer an unsuspecting individual a free gift card or free merchandise by sending them a malicious email or advertisement. People also receive fake shipping notifications from false websites asking them to confirm their personal information to receive their order, resulting in scammers obtaining and exploiting this information. Always be wary of offers for free goods and only provide personal information on legitimate websites.
One of the most common scams that have many individuals falling victim are fake charities. During a time where people are feeling generous and are more likely to donate, fake charities are created to collect money with no intention of providing it to a worthwhile cause. Be sure to do your research before handing over your cash and don’t be afraid to ask questions about where the money is going and how the funds are allocated.
While the holiday season is a time for joy and relaxation, don’t let your guard down to the predators online. Protect yourselves and your loved ones by being overly cautious while you work, shop and play online. If you would like to learn more about protecting yourself online this holiday season, or if you find yourself the victim of an online scam, a Private Investigator can be a useful ally. Call Investigation Hotline for your free consultation today.