Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the greatest days to score deals for holiday shopping. Unfortunately, with amazing deals plentiful, some scammers use these days to take advantage of shoppers looking for the greatest bargains on items they need. Try to shield yourself during this holiday shopping season by understanding the type of scams these criminals perpetrate and how to spot them.
1. Watch Out for Fake Websites
One popular scam is a fake website offering incredible deals on the most sought-after products. Supply chain issues and higher prices have pushed consumers to hunt on more than their regular shopping sites. They may find random sites they see advertised through pop-ups and social media ads. These scammers work hard to make these websites look real and may promote products that are hard to find, increasing the consumer's temptation to buy from an unknown website.
Things you may do include checking the website to see if there is contact information. See if their domain names have misspellings or extra letters or numbers. If all else fails, type in the company name and the word "scam" to see if others report a scam.1
2. Be Leary of Free Giveaways
Social media scams during the holidays have exploded in the past few years. During the holiday season, you may notice free product giveaways or expensive products advertised for only the cost of shipping. In these cases, the old saying "if it is too good to be true, it probably is" applies. These links often take you to cloned sites of popular brands or products, where hackers may steal personal data. Watch for typos on the webpages and avoid unverified social media accounts.2
3. Avoid Missing Package Links
Consumers have many packages coming and going during the holidays and may even receive packages they do not expect from family and friends. This volume of packages makes them prime candidates for missing-package scams. Missing package scams involve a text message or email saying there is an issue delivering your package. They may provide a link to click for tracking information.
You may also receive voicemails from scammers pretending to be shipping companies, calling to gather information for delivery. These scams try to capture personal and financial information illegally. Do not click the link or call back if you get an unexpected delivery notice. If you think the delivery may be legitimate, go through your order history to track the item or contact the appropriate shipping company using their primary telephone number.2
4. Watch Your Wi-Fi
While many consumers are happy to save on their data usage by taking advantage of public Wi-Fi hot spots, scammers may exploit unprotected connections on these open Wi-Fi systems. Whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi, turn it off before making any transactions using a credit card or entering any personal or financial information.2
Content in this material is for educational and general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
LPL Tracking #1-05325573.
1 Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams: How to stay safe and shop online, NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/black-friday-cyber-monday-scams-how-stay-safe-shop-online-n1249128
2 Avoid these 3 Holiday Scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/23/avoid-these-3-holiday-scams-on-black-friday-and-cyber-monday.html