Technology & Security
4 Scams this Holiday Season

4 Scams To Watch Out For This Season

There are many things to love about the holidays, but the increase in fraudulent activity isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, fraudsters love this time of year because there are so many opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting people, either through online scams or old-fashioned trickery and deceit. Here are a few scams the Better Business Bureau recommends you watch out for:

1. Phony Charities

  • Always research a charity you’ve never heard of to figure out if it’s legitimate. Don’t just click a link provided to you in an email. Do a search on the name to see what comes up.
  •  Pay attention to the misuse of brand names. Scammers are known to create look-alike web addresses to defraud people.
  • Be sure to pay with a credit card so you have a better chance of recovering your donation in the event you get duped.

2. Temporary Holiday Jobs

Looking for extra spending cash? You might consider seasonal work. Just be sure it’s for a legitimate company. Those roadside signs claiming to let you work from home with no experience may seem like the solution to your cash flow desires, but the folks behind those ads will likely ask you to pay upfront for “training” or “materials” and then take the money and run.

3.Social Media Stalking

Received a new friend request from someone you’re not sure you know? Don’t accept it unless you can confirm the person’s identity. That “friend” may be a scammer looking to follow your whereabouts on social media. As you post about the ski trip you’re on, or the party you’re attending, someone with your information could be headed to your address to recreate scenes from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

4.Emergency Scam

While not limited to the holidays, this is a scam that’s growing. The scenario goes something like this: a father gets a call from an unknown number and the voice on the other end claims the man’s son has been in an emergency (or arrested or abducted). The caller asks for several thousand dollars to be wired and threatens harm to the son if the father hangs up to get help.

In this situation, the understandable response would be to immediately do whatever possible to help the family member, including sending money. But the Federal Trade Commission warns not to act quickly. Never send money unless you can confirm specific details with the caller to determine if they’re truly with your family member. If you can, ask to call back that family member on their known number. It will be obvious very quickly whether the situation is real or a ruse.

Stay alert: It’s easy to get swept up in the stress and pace of this busy holiday season. But take time to be thoughtful about your online and personal interactions with strangers. Follow your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, go with your gut. You may just outwit a fraudster in the process.