Credit and debit card chips have reduced fraud at traditional retailers, so scammers have moved online, plus other common holiday scams.
The Better Business Bureau is keeping a list, and it’s reserved for those who have been naughty and should get a lump of coal for Christmas this year.
They range from standard attempts to steal your identity through online purchases — the advent of credit and debit card chip readers has cut down on fraud at retailers, but has moved the activity online — to malware-infected e-cards to fake websites and shipping notifications.
Here, from the BBB, are the top holiday scams of the year:
1. Be cautious when shopping online: Thanks to the introduction of chip card readers, your chances of falling victim to fraud are greatly reduced at traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers. Identity thieves haven’t gone away, though. They’ve moved online. What should you do? Use only your credit (not debit) cards online and shop only at secure websites. How do you know? Look for https in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and for a lock symbol.
2. Look-alike websites: Like fake news sites, fake shopping websites are also on the rise. When shopping online, make sure to use only legitimate websites. How do you know: Scammers use URLs that cleverly contain the names of well-known brands, but contain extra words.
3. Fake shipping notifications: Be cautious before you open notifications online. They can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. “Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam,” the BBB advises.
4. E-cards: Before you dance with joy about getting one of these cards, exercise some healthy skepticism. These can also contain viruses. How do you know? The sender’s name is not apparent, and you are required to share additional information to get the card.
5. Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies do offer personalized letters from Santa, so check with the BBB to find those that are legitimate. Scammers are clever when it comes to mimicking them and they’re after personal information from unsuspecting parents who want to preserve their children’s belief in Santa another season.