One survey found that online fraud attempts increased 22 percent between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day when a whopping one out of every 85 transactions was fraudulent.
Keep scammers from ruining your holidays by watching out for these five popular scams.
Scammers prey on your desperation to score the hottest holiday presents. Online fraud attempts have become the new norm, but there are ways you can protect your personal information on the web. When you enter your credit card data to purchase a popular present from their website, you’re really giving cons all of the information they need to go on their own holiday shopping sprees. If you don’t recognize the name of the retailer, enter it online with terms like ‘scam’ or ‘complaint’ to see if it’s legitimate.
As the holidays near, your inbox starts filling with emails that appear to be from FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal Service asking you to fill out forms (including financial details) to have holiday parcels delivered. If there is a package waiting for you at the post office, USPS will leave a notice in your mailbox; FedEx and UPS will also leave notices at your home; they will not request financial details via email.
Fraudulent gift cards:
Shoppers spent $26 billion on gift cards during the holidays last year, making them a top target for con artists. Scammers write down the codes from gift cards and deplete the balances before the recipient opens their present.
When shopping for a gift card, make sure the security code on the back of the card hasn’t been scratched off; purchase gift cards from reputable retailers and avoid cards stocked on rotating racks where scammers can access them. Keep the receipt as proof of purchase in case the recipient has a problem.
Fake data breaches:
The number of data breaches skyrocketed 50 percent last year, impacting three-quarters of U.S. retailers. Consumers are on high alert for news of data breaches and scammers know it.
If a “retailer” calls to report a data breach and requests information like an account number and the three-digit CVV code to get it sorted out, hang up the phone. Call the 1-800 number on the back of the store credit card to ask about a potential breach.
You use the ATM and swipe credit and debit cards at retail terminals more often during the holidays, giving thieves plenty of opportunities to steal your financial data.
Skimming downloads the information from the magnetic strip on your card, giving fraudsters access to your account to do their holiday shopping. To keep your data safe, keep your debit and credit cards in sight during transactions and cover the keypad when you enter your PIN at the ATM or retail terminal.
With a few extra precautions, you can avoid being the victim of a scam this holiday season. If you do find yourself as a victim, learn what steps to take in case your identity has been compromised.