Scamsters target certain people during the holiday season. They never take a break. This is what you can do to protect yourself according to AARP Fraud Watch:
1) Over a third of adults reported they experienced fraud when buying a product through an online ad. Some advertisements can download malicious software onto devices or lead the shopper to a cloned site of a legitimate store.
2) Scams can also occur when shoppers search online for customer service contact information. Online ads that appear to be a legitimate company’s customer service information can be a scammer’s attempt to get consumers to call them instead. Use a billing statement or other information obtained directly from the company to find legitimate numbers. Also, a retailer will never ask for your log-in information when providing customer support.
3) Over half of adults said they are planning to ship gifts to friends or family over the holidays. Packages on front porches are a common target for thieves, with one in four adults reporting they lost a package in this way. Additionally, scammers send fake shipping notifications about an issue to get consumers to disclose payment or sensitive personal information.
4) Peer-to-peer apps like Cash App, Zelle and Venmo are gaining popularity with 45% of adults reporting they plan to use one this holiday season, but they do not offer fraud protection. Avoid using these apps to make purchases from people or businesses you do not know. Nearly 70% of Americans will use their debit cards this holiday season, but debit cards do not offer the same protections as a credit card. The report recommends using a credit card for online purchases for better protections in the event of a fraud.
“Scammers are out in force during the holidays to try to steal money or sensitive information from consumers,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP director of fraud prevention programs. “Online shopping, shipping gifts and even charitable donations can become tools for scammers to use in their schemes. Knowing the warning signs is the first step you can take to spot and avoid scams.”