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Holiday Scams: How To Protect Yourself From Online Fraud

Dec-14 2021

The holiday season brings everyone together and makes for some joyful family memories. Ideally no one worries too much about their emails or accounts while celebrating. However, these cheerful memories can turn into unpleasant ones if you fall for one of the many holiday scams.

Thousands of people fall for scams online every year, as scammers get more and more creative and sophisticated. Whether they take your personal information, your money, or simply your time - you don’t want to fall into their traps and we want to help. From simple email scams to elaborate website scams, this article will provide you with some handy tips to protect yourself and your family members.

What Are Holiday Scams?

Scammers are innovative and come up with new schemes every year. However, the goal of their scams is always the same - to take something away from you. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported almost 792,000 complaints made in 2020, roughly double the year before. The total loss of online users falling for scams adds up to around $4.2 billion in 2020 only.

Most of the users falling for online scams are reported to be around the age 60 and above, making grandparents especially susceptible to scams. There are many different types of scams to look out for, and here are some common ones: 

  1. Non-delivery scams are the most prevalent during the holiday season. In such a scam the buyer pays for a product or service, but never ends up receiving it. These deals can often be found on C2C (customer-to-customer) websites like eBay or Facebook, where scammers have an easy time putting up fake products. 

  2. Gift card scams are another common form of scam and usually ask you to buy a gift card as a payment and then read the numbers on the back of the card to the person calling.

  3. Package delivery scams often trick users by sending them a text claiming they are going to receive a package or gift by a valid delivery service like FedEx, but then asks them to update their information on a third-party website. Messages like these are almost always likely to be a scam.

  4. Charity scams exploit people’s goodwill during the holiday season and are usually based on fake charities for various causes. 

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are getting scammed or not, and sometimes it is the best to trust your gut feeling. Bottomline, scams are usually deals that are simply too good to be true. 

How To Protect Yourself

The best scam protection is prevention. Here are 7 ways to prevent getting scammed:

  1. Do not click on any suspicious links, emails, pop-up windows or attachments, especially if they claim you have outstanding payments and threaten you with fines.

  2. If websites ask you to update your account information including your password, always check the website for legitimacy. The URL of the website should include https and have a legit domain name.

  3. Avoid giving up your personal information unless you don’t necessarily have to. Do not give your social security number to anyone online or over the phone. No buyer needs your social security number in order to make a transaction or sale.

  4. When buying from an individual online, check their feedback and review page for previous buyers and see if they are verified.

  5. Never wire money directly to a seller, and avoid paying for items using gift cards.

  6. If you are unsure if a website is legitimate or not, you should check:

    1. The URL and domain name (and try searching for the business online yourself or type it in directly)

    2. The contact page for a phone number or email address

    3. Social media presence of the company on other platforms

    4. The age of the domain to find out if they have been around for a while

7. Create your GoodTrust account today to preserve you and your families' accounts and prevent them from getting taken advantage of. You might have forgotten about old accounts that saved your personal and bank information that can be used to scam you. It's also worth deleting old accounts or requesting that they be deleted upon your passing.

You Got scammed. What Now?

In the unfortunate case you do get scammed, there are some actions you can take to retrieve your money and report the scammer. 

  1. Dispute charges: If you paid the scammer with your credit or debit card, contact your bank to dispute these charges. Try to explain your situation and monitor your account to prevent other charges that might be made.

  2. File on IC3: You can file the scam on the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for further investigation.

  3. Report to the FTC: Report the scam to the federal trade commission to help fight online fraud.

  4. Contact local law enforcement: Contact your local law enforcement for further help.

By setting up a GoodTrust account today, you can protect yourself and your family from future fraud and scams. GoodTrust secures your accounts and passwords beyond your passing to protect all your assets. With GoodTrust's 2-for-1 holiday offer, you can protect your own and a loved one's digital legacy.

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