Whether you are holiday shopping or just trying to make the season merrier, you still need to be aware of the scams that occur during this season. You should always remain cautious about scams but, during the holiday season is a good time to stay extra vigilant. Check out this list of 12 scams to avoid and how to keep your financials safe.

  1. Social media ads: When scrolling through social media and land upon an advertisement for something you’re interested in, always research the company to confirm it is not a scam. Even if it looks like a company you have seen before, double check to make sure the URL is does not have any misspelling. Social media ad scams usually occur by the customer paying for a product and never receiving it.
  2. Delivery and shipping scams: This may involve an email or text asking you to call a number or click a link to “confirm” your personal information before a package (that doesn’t exist) can be delivered. Also beware of fake Amazon® calls and messages. Impersonators are contacting people pretending to be from the online store and trying to scare them into giving up their personal information. Do not give this out – instead, go directly to your account to confirm status. 
  3. Holiday apps: Many apps during the season have a holiday-theme, especially for children. Be cautious and read the privacy policy of these apps to see what information of yours will be collected from the app. Also, be aware that many of these apps have hidden fees or subscriptions.
  4. Compromised accounts: If you receive an alert about an account being comprised and your immediate action is required, this is more likely a scam. Never click a link or send any personal information without confirming that the alert is not a scam.
  5. Free prizes: Nothing catches people’s attention like hearing they have won something for free. This is a common tactic scammers use to obtain peoples personal information. Always be aware that if you receive an alert for a free prize or gift card that it may be to good to be true.
  6. Holiday jobs: The holiday season is a great time for a seasonal job. Many companies hire during this time of year for extra help due to the demand of holiday shoppers. While this is a great opportunity to earn some extra cash, be aware there is many job posting that are scams looking to steal money or personal information.
  7. Fake charities or GoFundMe’s: While the holiday season is a great time to donate to those in need, it is also the many scammers try to trick people into donation to a fake charity. When donating, try to donate to organizations or individuals you know. Always do your research before giving out your money.
  8. Popular wishlist gifts: When searching for a popular wishlist item, especially if it is a pricey item, many people look to resellers or knockoffs. This is how many scammers get people to send them money without sending the item they are buying.
  9. Puppy scams: Puppies are a popular holiday gift, however there are many fake puppy ads. Always be sure to see the puppy in person before sending any money.
  10. Remote access scams: Don't give remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. This gives scammers easy access to your personal and financial information – like access to your bank accounts. Often, these scammers pose as a fake tech support person or claim allowing them remote access is the only way to give you money or provide a refund.
  11. Fake websites: The holiday season is a time to pay extra attention to fake websites that are look-alikes to the real websites. Many websites do this by replacing a letter or and “L” with a “1” or “O” with a zero.
  12. Phishing scams: Phishing is a common tactic scammers use to steal individuals information. An example is if you receive a text asking if you’ve spent a certain dollar amount at a retail store, which could in some areas be a local retailer, and to follow a link if you did not authorize the transaction. If you receive a text that sounds suspicious or that is asking for your information, don’t fall for it. Stop and think before taking actions.