Scams and fraud attempts are a year-round problem, but there are a number of them that seem to crop up specifically to ruin the holidays. From travel to shopping and every possible holiday theme in between, there are scammers waiting to steal your money, personal identifiable information, or both.
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in collaboration with Generali Global Assistance, recently published an e-book that outlines holiday scams to watch out for as well as tips to help minimize your risks. Here is a quick snapshot of the scams that are discussed in greater detail in this paper:
- Online Shopping Scams – It might be a fake website that claims to have the season’s “hottest toy” in stock or a spoofed email that says there’s a problem with your shipment or payment method. Either way, you might be more likely to fall for it because your holiday gift giving could be ruined if you don’t comply.
- Seasonal Employment Scams – Employment scams are rampant throughout the year—after all, who couldn’t use a little income on the side—but the number of people seeking holiday money means that scammers have a whole new crop of victims from which to pick.
- Charity Scams – While we’re busy shopping, decorating, and otherwise enjoying the holidays, a great many of us understand that there are those who are less fortunate. Our thoughts (and checkbooks) might turn to easing someone’s burden at the holidays. Sadly, scammers are standing by with fake charities, websites that sound awfully close to known charities, and other similar efforts.
- Elder Scams – There are a vast number of scams that specifically target the elderly, and they can ramp up during the holidays. Many of them include things like romance and friendship requests that prey on lonely adults, claims that a loved one is in legal trouble or has been kidnapped and needs money, threats of cutting off a utility service, and so much more.
- Travel Scams – Thieves know that many of us will do whatever it takes to make it home or take that exotic getaway, and travel scams can lure in far too many victims. Some of them involve too-good-to-be-true destinations that don’t actually exist, while others are simply flights or accommodations for pennies on the dollar that steal your identifying information.
These are only some of the ways that the holidays can be a dangerous time for falling victim to an identity theft scam, but with the proper awareness and a few cautious preventive steps, this holiday can be more merry than scary. For more information on these scams and ways to try to avoid them, read our e-book on holiday scams and fraud.
Generali Global Assistance proudly provides financial support to the Identity Theft Resource Center.