Holiday Fraud Protection Tips

December 16, 2020

 

Giving is better than receiving, but not when we’re giving our hard-earned money to scammers.

Fraudsters and cybercriminals can be particularly skilled at taking advantage of our goodwill when we aren’t careful, so fend off the Grinch with these reminders.

First, a few rules of thumb to share with friends and family this holiday around the (virtual) table:  

  1. If anyone asks for donation or payment by gift card or wire transfer– it’s a scam.  
  2. If anyone asks for your online banking credentials – it’s a scam.  
  3. If you receive an unexpected email or text with a link to click or an attachment to open – it’s a scam.  

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Charity Scams

When asked for a donation, do your due diligence to make sure the organization is legitimate.
  • Caller ID’s are easy to spoof, making it appear that you are donating to a cause you support. 
  • For your peace of mind, the FTC provides a list of organizations that may assist in helping you find a legitimate charity for your donation: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar.

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Fake Jobs

This is an especially common time of year to earn some extra money and scammers know it, so they post fake jobs. 
  • Secret Shoppers: An ad is posted to help rate a business’s customer service. Once “hired”, they mail a check to deposit (or ask for online banking credentials for remote deposit), then direct the victim to purchase gift cards at various merchants as part of the rating process. “Payment” is the remainder of the original check. Unfortunately, the check is fraudulent and by the time this is realized, the fraudster has spent the gift cards and the victim is left with a bounced check. 
  • Car Wrapping: The victim will receive a text or email offering money to put a company’s logo on one’s car. Just like the fake secret shopper scam, the check they send is fake and the victim loses the money they sent back to pay the “licensing fees”.

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Online Shopping

Online shopping is a convenient and generally safe way to shop, but keep your guard up for these common ploys:
  • Shipping and Tracking confirmations: Phishing emails or texts that look like shipping or tracking notices from known carriers such as FedEx, UPS and USPS are a common holiday season scam; it’s easy for the fake receipt to blend in with the real ones.
  • Fake websites and ads: They are everywhere, loaded with malware and enticing customers to input their debit and credit card information. Rather than clicking these ads, research the company using your preferred search engine.
  • Unsecured networks: Avoid doing your shopping on public Wi-Fi, which can leave your personal devices and stored card information at risk.
  • Look for the “lock” and the “https”:  The padlock on the URL bar and the “s” in “https” ensure the website is secure.

We wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday. So, slow down. And remember the old adage: if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If for any reason you suspect fraud on your account, contact Cape Cod 5 right away at 888-225-4636. For more information, visit our Security Center.

 

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