The Holiday season and end of the year is a time that brings people together. With gift exchanges, holiday parties, and family dinners, it is a time when people are in the giving mood. December is National Cyber Security Month so this blog will show you the common holiday scams and how to stay protected against them.

Did you know “about half of consumers who said they’ve been targeted by an online holiday shopping or phishing scheme ended up getting scammed, according to a new survey by Norton, a seller of cybersecurity software? Respondents who fell victim to scammers lost an average of $1,500,” it said according to a report by Forbes.

Gift card scams

Budgets can become tight when finding gifts for your loved ones, so any financial relief is welcomed. You may, however, come across emails or pop-up ads offering gift cards. Be wary of these tempting opportunities. They are often a ploy to collect your personal information that can be later used to steal your identity..

Charity scams

Charity scams can take place online and even over the phone. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers will rush people into donating, or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never paid for and then asking for payment. They will also use vague and sentimental claims while asking for a donation but won’t detail how they’ll donate your money. Always research any charity before you donate and never give money by gift card, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer.

Package delivery scams

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns of delivery notification scam calls and texts. These text messages and calls look like they’re from a legitimate mail or package courier, such as the US Postal Service, and include a fake tracking link. The link will lead you to a website to enter personal information, or it will install malware, software designed to gain unauthorized access, on your phone or computer. The malware will then start stealing your information.

Deceitful websites

Online shopping is convenient especially when trying to avoid the holiday shopping rush. When you do shop online, make sure to only use legitimate websites. Scammers use URLs that look remarkably similar to those of legitimate sites. Always double-check the URL before making a purchase and be wary of sites where the brand name is included with long URLs.

Malware emails

Don’t be quick to click! Clicking on the wrong link or downloading a scammer’s attachment can result in malware spreading to your computer. This computer virus or “bug” can steal personal information or even hold your device hostage unless you pay a price. Links and attachments can come in the form of emails or pop-up advertisements.

What to Do If You Are Scammed

  • If you feel that someone is scamming you, don’t respond to the email, and block it. If it’s a phone call – hang up!
  • If you provide your personal information (account, date of birth, online banking userID, password, etc.) contact your financial institution immediately.
  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Update security software on your computer and mobile device.

Your personal financial institution will never ask you to disclose personal information through email or text. If any text or email posing as your financial institution asks you to disclose personal information, please call or visit the Bank’s website and notify them. Report any suspicious email or text as fraudulent to help better filter out future scams. With the proper knowledge and precautions, you can protect yourself this holiday season from the common scams and frauds.

Feel free to check out any of our resources from Auburn Savings, come inside and visit a branch and one of our Customer Representatives can assist you. At Auburn Savings, we nurture relationships, foster ambition, and are driven by purpose—you come first. Bank On Us.