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Holiday Secret Shopping Scams

The Counterfeit Goods Scam

The holiday season is prime time for roaring sales in counterfeit goods. So, if you spot an unbelievable price tag on a highly coveted item, chances are that the goods may be counterfeit. This is particularly true for branded items, such as clothes, shoes and other items. People can be so desperate to get their hands on some exclusive branded merchandise at affordable rates that they simply forget to double check the details of the listing in order to get their hands on the deal first. In some cases, the forgery may be good enough to even pass eye-level inspection, and only get caught when someone tries to return it to the original store. One way of staying safe from such Secret Shopping Scams is to carefully go through trusted reviews on the site and elsewhere.

E-Holiday Card Scam

Not all greeting cards carry good cheer. In fact, Digital holiday cards are being increasingly exploited to contain malicious links that download software onto your system. These can be used to spy on your system or completely damage it. The problem is that these cards generally look legitimate as they originate from popular e-Card sites. In order to stay safe, you should always check whether the sender’s email address seems legitimate, if the mail is personalized the way you expected to be considering the sender, or if hovering over the link shows a different website address than the one it says it originates from. Cybersecurity New Jersey can help you implement technical safeguards against receiving such emails in your inbox.

Emotional appeals on social media

While the pandemic has sparked virtually limitless amounts of really tragic stories shared on social media, you need to be careful about verifying their authenticity. There have been many reports of completely fraudulent campaigns on crowdsourcing platforms like GoFundMe where scammers have literally banked on the generosity and good nature of people and made a way with substantial amounts of money to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. While it may not be possible for you as an individual to verify all of the stories, the least you can do to stay safe is to inquire whether any of your personal or local connections are connected to the people making the appeal.

Besides the mentioned above there are many holiday shopping scams such;

  • Secret Sister
  • Coupon Scams
  • Package Theft
  • Pet Scams
  • Cyber Monday Scams
  • The ‘Buy Online, Pick Up’ In Store Scam
  • Shady email scams
  • Cloned websites
  • Fake charities

5 effective tips to help you avoid holiday shopping scams


Always be wary of clicking on ads

In order to protect your personal information and identity, you should always be very careful when clicking on online ads. This is because the links may often redirect you to a fraudulent or malicious website that tries to steal your information. A good way to check the ad can be to look for legitimate business names or websites attached to the ad. Even if the website seems legitimate, take extra precaution to go through the website in detail and check for discrepancies anywhere. If something seems off, you might be better off buying that product or service from elsewhere. IT Support New York City can help you implement ad blockers for enterprise needs.

Use reliable payment methods

Believe it or not, paying through your credit card may be the safest way to conduct online transactions as these offer the best fraud protection. It’s one of the only ways to protect yourself against scams like the ones where the ordered item never arrived and the seller or the company offers zero customer support, thanks to credit card fraud protection. Shopping with a credit card or traceable payment methods like PayPal can be a better way to stay safe from Holiday Shopping Scams. For vendors who request cash transfer through apps such as Venmo or Cash App, prepaid money cards, or other non-traditional methods – you should always make a test transaction first in order to verify the transaction. For more information on staying safe through payment methods, please refer IT Support Atlanta.

Communicate with your bank directly

Be wary of alerts purportedly from your bank or credit card company that alert you to fraudulent activities on your account. Take care not to click on the link provided in the alert email. Instead, in order to stay safe, just log into your bank’s website or mobile application directly to check if the reported alerts are real. In case you have any doubts or queries, do not ask those on phone calls or text messages that claim to be from the bank, but could also be fraudulent. Never share your personal information on such calls even if the customer representative insists on it. Call the bank’s registered helpline number directly and register your concerns.

Be a little skeptical about ‘unbelievable deals’

While marketing hyperbole in Holiday Shopping Scams has made it nearly impossible to distinguish between the merits of different deals – some deals are just so excessively exaggerated that they may really seem unbelievable. This is especially true if they happen to be limited edition or other exclusive merchandise by highly valued brands. In that case, you need to be extra careful and ensure that the item on sale is actually genuine and not a cheap knock off. Take care never to shop based on pricing alone and be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true. They usually are.

Don’t make a judgment call based on photo alone

One way scammers try to dupe people is to build a website that has absolutely stunning photographs that convince people about the authenticity of the items on sale. Most people expect to get what they see. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and people end up with cheap, substandard items when they receive the order. This is especially true for pets or pet supplies, clothing or accessories, and vehicles. In order to stay safe, always double check the product description and match the product specifications with the technical specifications, if possible. On Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, you can even ask for detailed information.

Sharon Arena

Sharon Arena is the Marketing Coordinator at Olmec Systems, LLC. Sharon studied Marketing Analytics and Data Research at Post University in Waterbury, CT. She has 15+ years of experience in direct marketing, sales and operations management.