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How to Avoid Scams this Holiday Season

The holidays are supposed to be fun. They usually involve spending time with your loved ones, enjoying good food, and great company. Unfortunately, though, criminals never rest, even on holidays.

To save yourself the grief of dealing with these fraudsters, we'll look at the top scams that crawl out of the woodwork during the holidays, so you can learn how to protect yourself:

  • Free Apps That Offer Special Deals or Sales - For instance, scammers might use free mobile apps that promise special access to bigger discounts and restricted sales. However, once the victim downloads the app, criminals can run amuck and steal financial information and passwords, which can then lead to them using the victim's phone to send spam texts to others.
    • Avoid this scam by making sure that you download only reliable apps.
  • Phishing Websites Offering Great Sales and Prices – There are phishing websites that pose as online stores. They might promise incredible sales for the holidays, but what they actually want is to steal your financial information. Once you input your financial data (i.e., your credit card information, among other things), they can get access to your accounts.
    • Avoid this scam by not clicking on every link you see, being careful with who you give your credit card information to and ensuring you're visiting real stores.
  • Greeting Cards and Gift Cards With Malware - It's not surprising to receive a few electronic greeting cards during the holidays. However, unscrupulous scammers can use these cards to lure you in and embed malware on your computer. Once you click the link within the card, the scammers will install malware on your computer, which means you can end up with viruses and spyware.
    • Avoid this scam by not opening or clicking links contained within disreputable greeting cards. If it came from someone you don't know or there are misspellings in your name (among other details), delete it immediately.
  • Fake Shipping Notification for Gifts You Weren't Expecting - Scammers can use this natural reaction to gifts to lure you into revealing information or downloading malicious software. You may receive shipping notifications through email, often using the logos of companies like FedEx to seem legitimate.
    • Avoid this scam by not clicking links within questionable emails. You've probably received a legitimate shipping notification, so consider comparing the notifications first before clicking any links.

Whether you're buying gifts for friends or planning a trip to visit your family, it's important to stay alert when shopping online this holiday season. By knowing what warning signs to look out for and how to stay safe, you can focus on enjoying all that the season has to offer.

For more information on how to watch out for seasonal scams, access the full article here.

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