We recently issued a warning for a number of common holiday scams. However, that article hardly covered all of the common types of scams you could encounter this holiday season. If you’re trying to stay vigilant and on the lookout for scams, be wary of these common ways thieves and grifters try to ruin your holiday spirit.
You might be shopping online this year to finish out your holiday gift list. If so, be wary of packages that get left out on your front porch. Would-be thieves love seeing unattended packages, as they’re essentially invitations to make off with whatever fun thing it is you’ve purchased. If you can, try to be home in time to bring your packages in when they arrive. Should that not be possible, try leaving instructions for delivery people to leave the package in a less visible location, like behind outdoor furniture or on the back porch.
Another option could be to have someone who is already home during the day bring your packages in. Alternatively, you could use Amazon Locker, a secure drop-off location that you can access on your own schedule.
Another common type of scam seen this time of year involves gift cards. Scammers might try to sell “discount” gift cards, offering steep savings if you’re willing to buy through them. Often, this results in you discovering you’ve paid a lot of money for an empty gift card. If the person is insistent on paying in cash, or trading for other gift cards, then you know you’re almost certainly dealing with a scammer.
If you plan to buy a gift card, make sure you do so only through a retailer. If you’re not present when the card is activated, don’t purchase it! You have no way to verify that it’s legitimate otherwise.
Sometimes you’ll see social media posts purporting to offer you free gifts if you sign up for something like a gift exchange or newsletter. These are almost always naked attempts to just steal your data. Even if it seems innocuous, like an offer of a free phone case in exchange for your email address and home address for shipping, the “free” thing you’re signing up for likely doesn’t exist. Instead, you’re just signing up to be either sent spam emails–or the scammer is trying to make off with your personal information for identity fraud.