We are in the busiest shopping season of the year. On average, consumers will spend more on gifts, décor, and food during this season, which means there will be PLENTY of opportunities for scammers to steal hard-earned money or personally identifying information. Here are some of the most common scams to look out for.
Shopping online means getting purchases shipped directly to your doorstep, with companies sending tracking updates for shipments via email or text messages, so consumers can see where their package is in the delivery process.
However, scammers capitalizing on this are sending phishing texts and emails to consumers and pretending to be shipping companies. These messages will prompt the recipient to click on a link in order to see updates about their shipment, which leads them to a fake website with a login screen. Once the recipient logs in, scammers are able to collect their credentials and steal information.
If you receive an unexpected text or email about a shipped item that contains a link to click on, it is always best to ignore it and log into your actual account to see if there are any updates.
With most purchasing being done online through Google searches, scammers are now purchasing ads on Google to target top brands and their customers. These ads appear legitimate, but will lead users to a fraudulent webpage where personal information, such as login credentials or credit card information, is collected. So, if you are shopping online, make sure you are on a retailer’s legitimate website by examining the URL closely. One way to tell if a webpage is legitimate is to make sure there are no typos in the URL, or rather than click on the ad go directly to the brand’s website yourself.
Fraudsters are also targeting people on social media. They will create fake social media business pages and promote luxury products at a heavily discounted rate, and then ask buyers to pay with a money order, gift card, or wire transfer. However, once the buyer pays, the social pages will shut down, and no item is ever shipped. It can be tempting to snag a deal from a retailer that you are not familiar with, but it’s always best to purchase items from well-known and established retailers.
Keep Your Bank Account Safe
While you are purchasing gifts for those you love, remember that keeping your hard-earned money safe is a year-round responsibility. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Frequently check your bank statements. If anything seems “off”, dig into it a little more to verify that it is you making those purchases
- Set up alerts. With Blackhawk Bank’s Card Management, you can set up notification alerts or block transactions based on locations, merchant types, and transaction types.
- Utilize digital wallets. Using a digital wallet can make purchasing online even more secure, as it encrypts user information and develops unique tokens for every transaction.
While the holidays provide opportunities for quality time with family and friends, we encourage you to stay vigilant with your purchasing and security.
We hope you have a fantastic holiday season!