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Scam prevention tips for holiday shopping

It’s that time of year again. After a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and quarantining, it’s expected to be a record year for online holiday sales. But shoppers aren’t the only ones gearing up for the shopping blitz; sadly the fraudsters and scammers will be out in full force looking for vulnerable consumers and businesses, too. While your attention is turned to buying gifts and preparing for the holidays, they will be taking advantage of the chaos. There are three types of holiday scams for shoppers to watch for:

Phony delivery tracking notices

Scammers take advantage of the pre-holiday shopping mayhem by texting or emailing fake tracking notices. They look official, like they were sent by FedEx, UPS, or the USPS, notifying you that your delivery is delayed. They provide a tracking number link that, if you click on it, could unleash a virus onto your computer. If you call the phone number provided, you will be asked for your payment information.

Before clicking or calling when you receive a tracking notice, check the websites of stores from which you made purchases and confirm the tracking information for your delivery.

Fake order confirmations

In the flurry of order confirmations that reach your inbox, you come across one you don’t recognize as something you purchased. Not wanting to be charged for something you didn’t order, you click on the link to cancel it. You are then directed to a website that appears to be legitimate where it asks you for your payment information. Boom! Your identity has been stolen.

Unless you are absolutely certain an email is legitimate, never click on any links. Even then, you should confirm the information directly from the retailer’s website.

Porch pirates

It’s no longer just a novelty to see a video clip of someone scurrying off with packages left on a porch; it’s now epidemic throughout the country. For many porch pirates, it’s a full-time activity—hiding in wait as they stake out the neighborhood, looking for opportunities to pounce.

Doorbell cameras can be effective in aiding police in apprehending the thieves, but not necessarily your packages. If you’re ordering from Amazon, take advantage of their secure delivery options that allow for deliveries to be placed in the trunk of your car or inside your home.

About This Author


Pete Yang

Pete Yang is a senior vice president for Alpine Bank and the co-chair of Alpine's "Green Team." He's based in Aspen, where he handles commercial and consumer loans, with a particular focus on resort financing. He has a keen interest in protecting Colorado's unmatched mountain environment.

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