The holidays are a time to relax, be with family, and enjoy good food. But this is also the time when scammers are more likely to strike. They know that people are busy and may let their guard down when shopping, traveling, or dealing with holiday stress.
It's therefore critical for businesses to be extra vigilant during the holidays. Here are seven scams to watch out for this holiday season and how your small business can avoid them.
Be careful of phishing emails that claim to be from well-known companies or retailers. They may ask you to click on a link to claim a holiday discount or open an attachment of a holiday e-card. These links and attachments can contain malware that will infect your computer and give the scammer access to your personal information.
If you get an email like this, it's best to delete it. You can also go to the company's official website directly to confirm if they are running any holiday promotions.
Fake news stories
Hackers often spread fake news stories on social media to trick people into clicking on links that will redirect them to a phishing website or download malware onto their devices. Be especially wary of stories that are designed to appeal to your emotions, such as those featuring sick children or animals in need of help, as these are often used to scam people out of money. These scams may be more successful during the holiday season when people are feeling generous.
If you see a post linking to a story posted on a different website, don’t click on the link and do some research to see if the story is real before you share it.
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Giving to charity is a great way to show your holiday spirit, but you need to be careful of scammers who pose as representatives of charities. They may contact you by email, by phone, or even in person, asking for donations. They may even go as far as to set up a professional-looking website for their fake charity.
That's why you should donate only to organizations that you know and trust, and thoroughly verify the legitimacy of an unfamiliar charitable organization before giving any money.
Too-good-to-be-true giveaways and deals
Scammers know that most people love a good deal, and they will often try to take advantage of it. They may set up fake websites or social media accounts that offer great deals on popular items, like gadgets and electronics. They may also send out emails or text messages promising amazing prizes if you click on a link or enter your personal information.
To avoid being scammed, only buy from reputable websites or retailers, and be skeptical of any deal that seems too good to be true.
Package theft is a growing problem, especially during the holiday season when people are ordering more items online. Thieves will often target homes that have packages left outside, and they may even follow delivery trucks to see where they stop. To prevent your packages from being stolen, have them delivered to a secure location, such as your office, or use a courier that requires a signature for delivery.
Expired gift cards
Many scammers sell expired or empty gift cards to make a little extra money. They may get them from online auction sites and then resell them at a discount. Before you buy any gift card, ask to inspect it to make sure it hasn't been tampered with, and check the expiration date. Better yet, just buy gift cards from reputable sources, such as major retailers or banks.
Temporary holiday workers
Some scammers will look for businesses that are hiring temporary holiday workers and apply for the job using a fake resume. They may even appear to be qualified for the position when they show up for the interview. Once they're hired, they may steal money or merchandise from the business. To keep this from happening, do a thorough background check on all temporary employees before hiring them.
We at Complete Technology can help protect your small business from scams and cybercrime this holiday season. We offer a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity solutions to defend against data theft, phishing attempts, and other cyberattacks. Send us a message to get started.