The holidays are a time when families get together to enjoy one another’s company and gifts are exchanged in an effort to show one another love. It is a season of giving all around. However, scammers and thieves use this season as an opportunity to give themselves a gift and abuse the kind spirits of others. This holiday season, watch out for some of the following ways that tricksters seek to line their pockets.
Delivery Fraud: With Christmas presents in the air, literally, it can create a delivery nightmare. Tracking numbers and different delivery companies can create chaos in the era of online gift-shopping. Scammers will seek to manipulate victims by calling and pretending to be a delivery company with a lost package. They will request personal information, sometimes including credit card numbers. Keep in mind that if you do actually have gifts out for delivery, the tracking number will be issued securely, typically via email, and you will not be called by a delivery company or agency. If they do request information, they would request tracking number, not personal details like social security numbers, birth dates, or banking information.
Charity Scams: A season of giving and open hearts leads to many charitable donations. It also leads to many thieves taking advantage of these open hearts. Sham organizations that often time sound like legitimate organizations through letter campaigns, telemarketers, and websites can funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally in the name of charity. Be sure when giving during the holiday season that you thoroughly vet an organization. Often times, the local United Way can be a great resource to find out which organizations are legitimate or not. If a charity is pushy or doesn’t sound legitimate, it usually isn’t.
IRS Scams: Being the end of the year, some scammers will take advantage of IRS scams that are used year round, but create a sense of pressure because the calendar year is ending. These types of scammers will say that the IRS requires personal information and if not submitted by the end of the year, you or your loved ones could be liable for thousands of dollars in fines or even jailed. The IRS or any government agency will not issue you a call like this, and the end of the year is not a reason for taxes to be urgently paid either; be sure to be aware of this scam again in April around the actual tax time.
While there are other scams to be on the lookout for this time of the year, these are some of the most popular. Above all else, just be sure to look out for your finances or the finances of your elderly family members during this holiday season and report any suspect activity to appropriate local authorities.
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