The 12 Scams of Christmas – Part 1

The 12 Scams of Christmas – Part 1

December 13th 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! – for scammers.  Fraudsters are expected to receive multiple visits from Santa this year, with identity theft rising by more than a fifth in 2022 and on track to peak in time for Christmas according to the data giant Experian.

Older people are typically more susceptible to scams, and according to AgeUK an older person in England and Wales becomes the victim of fraud every 40 seconds. Care services have a responsibility under safeguarding laws to protect clients from financial abuse and financial fraud is included in that.

Our guide to the 12 scams of Christmas can be used to notify staff and the people you care for to help prevent any gifts from being re-directed to fraudsters this Christmas.

  1. The Fake Delivery Scam

One scam that really ramps up around Christmas time is the fake delivery scam. Most people will have ordered a gift online, and scammers are more than aware of this. They’ll send you a fake text/email posing as a trusted delivery source asking you to provide personal information or click on a link with malicious software.

How to protect yourself

  • No delivery companies will ask you for your personal information. If they are asking for this, it is likely that they are a scammer.
  • If you’re unsure and were expecting a delivery, ignore the message and contact the delivery company directly.
  • If you’re sure it’s a scam, forward the text message to 7726 to report it.

 

  1. WiFi Scams

Most people use their phones as mini computers, and during the Christmas shopping season lots of people will be making online purchases with them. Hackers are aware of this, and are sophisticated enough to know how to exploit a public network, which typically lack strong security protections. This makes it easy for them to access your device and the information you hold.

How to protect yourself

  • If connected to public Wifi, avoid online banking and making online purchases.
  • Turn your Wifi and Bluetooth off if you’re not using them.
  • Consider purchasing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you use public Wifi often. Your data will be encrypted even when using public networks.
  • Don’t visit sites where you need to enter a password.

 

  1. Christmas e-card scam

Since covid, e-card greetings have risen in popularity again, and what better way for a long distance friend to send their well wishes at Christmas time? You just want to be sure those well wishes don’t include malware. Hackers capitalise on e-cards and are known to send malicious files.

How to protect yourself

  • If the sender address looks unfamiliar, don’t open the email or any attachments it might include.
  • If you recognise the sender address, but the message looks unfamiliar, it’s a good idea to avoid opening any attachments. Accounts can easily be hacked and sending malware isn’t a tricky task for hackers.

 

  1. Christmas gift card scam

Gift cards are the perfect solution to the common problem of not knowing what to buy someone for Christmas. They’re easy to purchase and give the receiver more than one option, and can even be sent in email format. Although the next time you receive an Amazon gift card, its worth airing on the side of caution. Hackers commonly target victims through fake gift cards that are often laced with malicious software in attempts to steal your personal information.

How to protect yourself

  • Pay meticulous attention to sender details. Hackers will attempt to pose as trusted brands but a real brand would never send an email from a Gmail or Hotmail account, for example.
  • Avoid clicking on links or attachments, they may include malware in attempts to steal your personal information or corrupt your device.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re unsure, contact the retailer directly.

 

  1. Whatsapp relative scam

A recent scam has been circulating on Whatsapp messaging service, contacting individuals and claiming to be a relative. The victim is tricked into thinking they know the scammer and swap any original numbers they have. When the scammer can see they have been fooled, they will make financial requests.

How to protect yourself

  • Call the original number you have saved in your phone to verify the relative.
  • Look at the tone of the message to help you identify if it is a relative and if unsure ask a question that only they would know the answer to.

 

  1. Facebook Pages Scam

Hackers will go to extremes to trick victims, including creating false Facebook business pages and accounts which they will populate with information to pose as a legitimate business. Sometimes these accounts are selling counterfeit goods, and other times they will be promoting enticing discounts then taking your money and running away with it.

How to protect yourself

  • Do your research on the business. Check if they have a website and check when the website was created which should be displayed somewhere on the webpage.
  • Check to see if there are any reviews, if there are no reviews or a lot of negative reviews, it might be a scam.

 

Further information

 

Photo by Growtika Developer Marketing Agency on Unsplash

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