Christmas, as you know, is the most lively, jolly, and peaceful period of the year, one that is meant for spending time with family members, friends, and the people closest to us. However, not everyone thinks of it as a time to celebrate, instead, they think of it as a time for earning money. And, yes, we’re talking about cybercriminals.
In fact, various researches concluded that the cybercrime rates go up by up to 55 percent during the holiday season, which means that you’ll have to be extra careful about not being tricked while purchasing gifts online. Luckily, we’ve prepared a list of things that you could do, all of which will help you avoid Christmas scams. Here is what you need to be careful about and know:
1. Ensure That You Aren’t Using Fake Websites
One of the first and most common things that happen online is when criminals create fake E-commerce websites that completely mimic real ones. Now, there are various differences that could tell you whether or not sites are fake, however, they are often quite subtle, which is why it’s crucial that you know what you should look for. For starters, check and see whether there are any grammatical or spelling mistakes in the shop’s or products’ names.
Also, there should always be some information about the company such as the physical address of their business, a telephone number, and email address, hence, look for such info as well. If it isn’t present on the platform and if the company in question doesn’t want to share these details with you, it’s highly possible that they’re cyber criminals looking for a way to earn money in an illegitimate way. So, make sure that you check and see if they’ve displayed such info, if not, opt for another E-commerce store.
2. Gift Cards Frauds Are a Real Threat
Another fraud scheme that you should be extra careful about revolves around gift cards. In order for you to determine whether or not a gift card is fake, you should first look at its price. If its price is incredibly reduced or if it’s almost completely free of charge, it’s probably a scam that you should stay away from. Yes, these are perfect for teenagers, nonetheless, you should ensure that there aren’t fake and that they’ll actually work when used.
Keep in mind, you should never, I repeat, never purchase a gift card via social media platforms and fake sites, mostly because the individuals selling the cards use them before selling. To avoid this particular situation, you should only purchase the gift card through an online and reliable platform, directly from the retail shop offering them. Also, don’t forget to ask for the receipt, hence, if there are any issues in the future, you’ll be able to dispute it.
3. There is Nothing More Important Than Reviews
We’re often all in a hurry to do our Christmas shopping, however, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read the reviews a particular company has. By doing so, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, but more importantly, you’ll know whether or not you almost purchased something from a cybercriminal and you’ll also be capable of protecting your personal information such as your bank and credit card details.
Now, of course, the first place you’ll look for the testimonials left by previous consumers is the official website of the company you’re thinking about purchasing gifts from, however, if you want them to be more transparent and honest, it might be better if you opt for using a website such as PissedConsumer.com. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you aren’t getting yourself into a problematic situation where you’ll share your personal details with a cybercriminal.
4. Shipping Scams Also Exist
Although most people don’t realize it, there are also shipping scams that they must be careful about. How do they happen? Well, in most cases, you’ll receive an email notification that states that your order or several of them have been shipped. Naturally, the message will ask you to click on a link to see or track the goods you’ve ordered. This is most possibly a fraud scheme and it’s commonly referred to as phishing. By pressing on the link in the email, it’ll allow malware to enter your device.
This type of malware can and probably will gather a lot of information about you, including your credit card and banking details, passwords to various websites, your email, physical address, telephone number, and other data and personal information that you might want to protect. To avoid this, you should write down the order confirmation numbers, as well as the tracking digits you’ll get. If you receive an SMS or email that doesn’t match these digits, it’s probably a scam.
5. Lastly, Be Careful About Job Scams
Last on our list, but definitely worth mentioning are job frauds, mostly because it isn’t weird for individuals to look for some ways to earn extra money that they can use for purchasing presents for the people they love. For instance, an individual might be required to wrap gifts, but it could be a scam, especially if the company looking to hire people asks you to send some funds back to them – which you should, of course, never do.
In some other situations, the potential ‘employer’ might require you to deposit money into an account and then withdraw it in order to spend it or send it to another account. Hence, if you’re thinking about finding extra work before and during the holiday season, you must guarantee that the sites you’ll be working for are legit. You can figure this out by looking at the BBB platform and of course, don’t forget to do your own research before applying.
As you can see, there is a wide range of online scams that you might come across while doing your Christmas shopping. But, if you opt for following most or some of the tips we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be capable of ensuring that you avoid some of the most common online frauds out there, thus, you’ll be protecting your money and personal information as well.
Since you’re now well aware of what you need to do to avoid getting scammed while shopping for the jolliest holiday of the year, don’t lose time. Instead, while keeping all of our tips in mind, browse some websites in order to see how all of our advice applies in real-time.