Holiday music on repeat will be the least of your worries this season if you fail to spot these scams that typically happen right around the holidays. Bogus package notifications, sketchy WiFi, fake shopping apps, bogus cheques and donation requests are common ways scammers are hoping to steal your money and your passwords. Don’t let thieves rob you of your Yuletide bliss by following these tips:
- Bogus package notifications: Make a list of your expected packages and check it twice – the increased volume of package delivery notifications resulting from online shopping may make it more likely that you’ll be tricked into clicking on a link in a fraudulent email purporting to come from Canada Post. Before clicking any link regarding package deliveries – confirm that you are expecting a delivery. Very often, fraudulent emails contain malware or will send you to a page asking you to enter personal information; like your credit card number. Learn more.
- WiFi hot spot scams: Holiday latte with crushed candy cane whip? Check! Free WiFi? Check! Fraudster at the next table hoping to steal your info through a WiFi scam? Check! Free WiFi is great for figuring out which store to hit next, but save the important stuff for a secure network. Don’t enter any financial information on a site or app when using free WiFi and protect your device by ensuring it doesn’t automatically connect to free Wi-Fi since fake networks could be set up by scammers. Learn more.
- Fake shopping apps and websites: Phony apps and websites can take the joy out of a holiday shopping in your pajamas. Make sure the app you’re using isn’t impersonating a well-known retailer. Check your favourite retailer’s website for the correct download link for their app instead of just browsing through the app store. Steer clear of shopping websites that are offering deals that sound too good to be true, it could be a fake site. Learn more.
- Overpayment scams: If you’re selling products or services online during the holiday season, be careful of any payments that send you more than the asking price. This is a telltale sign of the overpayment scam that tries to trick you into refunding the extra money to a scammer who has overpaid you with a bogus cheque for an item you're selling. Learn more.
- Donation scams: Criminals take advantage of people’s generosity during the holiday season by posing as legitimate charities collecting money for good causes. Before you give, research the name and charitable registration number with Revenue Canada before providing any personal or financial information.
Stay safe this holiday season and our best wishes for a fraud-free New Year!