The holidays are upon us and, what consumers need to know is that fraudsters and scammers never take time off, especially during the holiday shopping season. In fact, they tend to ramp up their activities because they know that people are not paying close attention to their accounts. In addition to all the common scams, such as email phishing attacks and gift card fraud, consumers need to be on the lookout for three holiday scams in particular –sham orders, fake shipping notices, and disappearing packages.
Sham Order Confirmations
An email appears in your inbox from a seemingly reputable retailer or payment service confirming a purchase. Your initial reaction is, “I didn’t order that.” So, you click on the link in the email because you want to cancel the order. The link takes you to a legitimate-looking web page asking you to provide payment information. Zing! You are a victim of identity theft.
As with any type of phishing email, never click on any links. Instead, you should go to the retailer’s website and log into your account to check for fraudulent activity.
Fake Shipping Notices
You receive an official-looking letter or email from a shipper, such as FedEx or UPS, notifying you of a delayed shipment. The email includes a link for tracking your package. When you click on the link, a virus is downloaded onto your computer. Or, you call the phone number in the letter only to be asked for your payment information.
Never respond to a suspect email or letter. Instead, go to the merchant’s website to get your tracking information. Never, under any circumstance, provide payment information to anyone other than the merchant.
You have seen all the ads showing packages being stolen from front porches. That is not only a real thing; it is becoming an epidemic in all parts of the country. Thieves stake out neighborhoods waiting for any opportunity to swipe packages. Those doorbell security cameras are effective in helping the police identify and catch the thieves. But you can take a more preventive approach by making arrangements for secure package deliveries. For example, Amazon offers different options, such as smart lock systems that enable deliveries to the trunk of a car or inside your house.