Scams to Lookout for this Holiday Season

The holiday season is when people are especially vulnerable to scams because they are busy and often have their guard down. Criminals take advantage of this by circulating fake e-gift cards, posing as charities, targeting specific demographics, etc. This article discusses Google’s five most popular scams this holiday season. So if you want to be aware of the social engineering dangers lurking online, keep reading!

1) E-gift card scams

2) Charities

3) Demographic Targeting

4) Subscription renewals

5) Crypto scams

With the holiday season in full swing, so are gift card and prize scams. Scammers will often pose as your known contact to try and get you to buy them a gift card, or they may offer a fantastic prize in exchange for your credit card information. If you receive any suspicious emails like this from someone claiming to be your friend, confirm it with them through another method before doing anything further. And as always, if something seems phishy, it probably is.

Be wary of scammers and phishing attempts; they worsen during the holiday season. Not only do those who fall for the scams get hurt, but also charities and others. For example, an attacker may pretend to be associated with a charity related to current events or one with a familiar name. If someone contacts you asking for money via personal email or another method, beware that it might be fraudulent.

With more people shopping online and sharing personal information this holiday season, scammers are taking advantage by targeting consumers with fraud that seems more realistic. For example, you might get an email from what looks like your child’s school PTA about a holiday fundraiser.

But clicking on the link in the email could take you to a fake website asking for sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security Number. These scams can be challenging to identify because they seem so personalized. But if you’re aware of potential threats and know what to look for, you can help protect yourself against them.

Scammers love to target people at the end of the year. One particularly nasty version of these emails spoofs antivirus services. Can you believe it?! They lure victims with promises of improved security. Still, looking closely at the sender’s email address, you can usually spot these scams pretty easily. 

Cryptocurrency-based scammers are more prevalent during times of high crypto usage, like now. They often use a cryptocurrency wallet to collect payment and may threaten their victim if they don’t receive the funds. Gmail usually sends warnings about these types of emails, but knowing how to spot them on your own is helpful. Some key things to look out for that signal fraud include typos, strange email addresses, and demands for payment. 

You can protect yourself and your loved ones from potential fraud by being aware of these five popular scams circulating this holiday season.

Source: KnowBe4, Google