The holidays are a special, and expensive, time of the year. While everyone gets in the holiday spirit we realize there are many holiday cards to send out, gifts to buy, and thanks to give. It’s around this time though when scammers also have the most wonderful time of the year .
Scams during the holidays are so common that the Better Business Bureau has created a list of the five most common holiday scams.
If you’re looking for extra cash this holiday season you might seek out extra work. Unfortunately holiday work ads are one of the biggest scams out there. From becoming a secret shopper, to work from home ads, to listings that seem legit but could actually lead to identity theft. To prevent identity theft, always research any company you plan to work for before you hand over any personal information.
Sometimes getting in the holiday spirit means sending out eCards to all your co-workers, but you could actually be sending them a virus. You’ll often see ads for free eCards, screensavers, and desktop backgrounds and these can be riddled with malware and spyware. Make sure you keep your anti-virus protection up to date and only use sources you trust, this is a simple way to prevent identity theft.
Gift cards are a great way to give everyone a little something and they could also be a rip-off. Some cards come with fees or expiration dates so while you feel like you’re doing a good deed by giving one, you could be giving less than you think. Read the fine print that comes with the card to make sure your recipient is getting what they deserve this holiday season.
Speaking of giving, during the holidays charities often see a boost in donations. These days it’s easy to find a cause to donate to on Facebook, Twitter, and emails but sadly some of these donations are actually being pocketed rather than going to those who need it most. As always be sure to research who and what cause you are donating to. Your goodwill could wreak havoc on your credit report.
Some other common holiday scams not listed by the Better Business Bureau include:
- Emails from “hotels” about incorrect billing asking you to download a document that installs malware onto your computer.
- Telling everyone on social media sites when you go on vacation is not necessarily a scam but has been linked to break-ins in the past.
- Online coupons often ask for you to download software which can lead to downloading spyware and malware that could steal your information.
Online identity theft is a big issue and millions of identities are stolen each year. Don’t become a victim this holiday season and enroll in identity theft protection to stop the problem before it starts.