Saturday, December 7, 2019

Christmas & Online shopping scams

Good evening, morning, afternoon, or whatever it may be where you are reading this.

Let's start off with Lookalike websites.

Like everyone else, your email is probably getting flooded with flyers and all sorts of sales.  Most will be legitimate places that you have shopped before, but some may not be.  Some may just be links to fake lookalike websites.

When opening an email, always make sure to check the following:
  • The sender’s address
  • Look for spelling or grammatical errors, hover over links before clicking on them to see where they lead and don’t enter any personal information into a website that displays “http://” instead of “https://” at the beginning of its URL. (The “s” in “https://”  means that the website is secure and uses some form of encryption.)
  •  Beware of "free" gift card scams, a lot of those can be scammers just trying to get your information.
  • Another one is the "fake shipping" or "failed delivery" emails. These can appear to come from legitimate sources, but once you click on them, off you go to the scammers' site.  You should never have to input your personal information from a tracking number thats been provided to you. These happen a lot and are easily mistaken for the real thing. Especially this time of year. Once again, if there is a link, hover the mouse over it (without clicking on it) and the address should appear on the bottom left.  If you don't recognize the destination, DO NOT follow it!
  • Another one is the 'fake charity' emails.  These are a big NO. If you want to donate to charity, do it in person and locally.  Usually, the only "Charity" asking via email for money, are scammers.
  • Unusual payment forms.  All the real sites that you shop from will NEVER ask you to pay via wire transfer or unassociated gift cards.  
  • Phone scams. These exist in numbers around the Christmas season as well.  Again, NEVER give out any personal information over the phone! Especially credit card info! Watch out for the 'postage due' trick also. Some of those scammers will call saying that your package is held up because of insufficient postage. Whereas they will then request payment to forward the package. Don't fall for that either.
  • Facebook, and other social media scams.  Always watch what you are clicking on when browsing Facebook or other social media marketplaces.  Quite a few ads can sneak in there pretending to be a real product. See Pic below.  Most of the time if you take the time to read the ad, it will say right on it "this ad opens on another website"  Again these can be phishing sites. Always make sure you are browsing locally.  Don't forget the golden rule "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is"  And again, NEVER pay with any form of pre-paid cards.

There are a whole lot more out there, that the scammers will try.  From the blatantly obvious to some really complicated setups that may look completely real. Don't forget to "trust your gut" also, if you think something is out of the ordinary, don't proceed. Don't let the scammers out there ruin your holiday season!

If you do come across some of these strange sites, emails or phone calls here is a link to report them (Canada)

Report Fraud


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