How to Avoid being Scammed at Christmas

How to Avoid being Scammed at Christmas

The year 2020 is a crazy year, and email and internet scams promise to be just as crazy. The scammers are singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”. You need to be on the look out as more and more legitimate (and not legitimate) solicitations are sent your way.

Since so many of us are buying online in record numbers this year due to COVID-19 issues, a lot of the scamming is based on targeting the holiday shopper. Over two-thirds of shoppers will do the majority of their shopping online, and for many, it will be the first time. Now the scammers are singing “here comes Santa Claus…”.

Spoofing emails are the rage this year. These emails look just like your favorite online retailer emails and when you are ordering like a maniac trying to get all the kids, your spouse, friends, and grandkids taken care of in time to receive shipment before Christmas – who has time to read every email in detail? That’s what they are counting on. Word to the wise, the Christmas rush is not your friend when using your credit card online at Christmas.

And how about all those supposed non-profit charities that have your email address? November and December are banner months for scammers pretending to be a charity, often one you have already contributed to in the past. Donating to legitimate organizations is great (make sure you always use a credit card in case you need to dispute a fraudulent charge). But do be careful because the scammers and singing “chestnuts roasting over an open fire” and it is not their chestnuts.

Lastly, there are the delivery service scams. You have a package; in fact, you have plenty of packages in transit. There is a problem with one. Little Bobbie might not get his PlayStation on time. You click the link to have a rep call you. Bang. The slick elf on the line is not who you think. Never give your credit card or personal information to a delivery company’s rep or via email to expedite your shipment, or guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. Too many folks have done that in the last few days of the season. Desperation often clouds the mind. Remember, you did not buy the gift from the shipper! Simple right. Statistics prove otherwise.

Here are few tips for you to avoid being scammed. They work year-round but they are especially important this year at Christmas.

  1. As mentioned about – always pay by credit card for easy monitoring and disputing. Do not use a debit card. Some debit cards have better protections than others, but keep it simple and use a credit card.

  2. Want to know if the link the email points to is legit? This is not fool-proof but you can see the link address at the bottom of your screen by hovering with your mouse over the link. Do not click it! If the link does not match the retailer, then bail out. If it does, then proceed with caution, although a phone call to a verified toll-free number could still be your best move.

  3. Don’t order on public wireless access, like at the hamburger joint. Order only at home or work to be safe.

  4. When ordering online, make sure the address bar on the browser has the https:// prefix. If not, bail out immediately. You are not on a secure site.

There are so many other tips that can be shared but these are the top four. Just be careful out there. You don’t want to hear the scammers singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah when they score off your back account!

And above all, we at PARKERTECHGROUP wish you and yours a happy and safe Merry Christmas and New Year!

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