Fraud Awareness Tips for the 2022 Cyber Holidays

~ Fraud Awareness Week: Tips for Staying Safe During the Cyber Holidays ~

This week is Fraud Awareness Week and with the holidays right around the corner, cyber fraud is on many people’s minds. According to the Better Business Bureau’s naughty list of the top 12 holiday shopping scams this Christmas season, the two most prevalent scams are misleading social media ads and social media gift exchange scams. 

The Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2021 reported that non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $337 million. Credit card fraud accounted for another $173 million in losses. So, how can we protect ourselves in a constantly evolving and quite scary cyberworld?

Tips To Stay Safe This Holiday Season

Exercise Savvy Shopping

  • If you’re purchasing from a company for the first time, do your research and check reviews.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before moving forward with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace check their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.

Watch for “Red Flags” When Paying Online

  • Avoid paying for items with prepaid gift cards. In these scams, a seller will ask you to send them a gift card number and PIN. Instead of using that gift card for your payment, the scammer will steal the funds, and you’ll never receive your item. 
  • Use a credit card when shopping online and check your statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.

Avoid Shipping Pitfalls 

  • Always get tracking numbers for items you buy online, so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
  • Avoid buyers who request their purchase be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.

Enable Security Protection To Block Shopping Scams & Threats

  • Run security protection on your mobile devices – like Lookout’s security application – which is an app you can download from Google Play or the App Store. Security protection will automatically monitor and identify scam URLs in email, text messages, and on the web and block you from threats that can do harm.
  • Gift Card Scams:
    • CVS, Walmart & Home Depot 
    • The FTC reports that around $10 million a month has been lost globally to these scams. 
    • About one in four people who tell the FTC they lost money to fraud say they paid with a gift card.1 In fact, gift cards have topped the list of reported fraud payment methods every year since 2018. During that time, people reported losing a total of nearly $245 million, with a median individual loss of $840.2

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