The holidays are upon us which for many of us means the season of giving! Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for scammers who are always in the season of taking as they continue to use robocalls and robotexts to run their scams on unsuspecting victims. However, do not fear as we have provided a rundown below of some of the top scams to look out for this holiday season.
‘Tis the Season of Giving
Many people like to volunteer and donate cash or goods during the holiday season. Scammers take advantage of this by using a legitimate charity’s name to ask for fake donations. More worryingly, they may even spoof a charities phone number. Spoofing is when someone makes calls under someone else’s phone number. This method often makes the person answering believe they are being called by a legitimate organization and is a way to easily deceive victims of robocall scams.
Scammers may even go so far as to create fake charities. They will call with believable pitches about their cause and present enticements such as end-of-the-year tax write offs. The best way to avoid charity scams is to donate directly to organizations you know and can trust. You can verify this through their official website or contacting them directly through the telephone number on their website. There are also government websites to verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations such as the IRS.
You’ve Got Mail
Between Black Friday deals and gift giving, online shopping is especially popular during the holiday season. And as a result, we see many scams based around packages and mail. One example of this is a fake package delivery scam. In this case, the victim receives a text message claiming a package for them is pending pickup with a link. They often will pose as a known carrier such as Amazon or USPS. The link will take the targeted victim to a website that asks them to pay the shipping. This is all a scam but could be convincing for someone who is anxiously awaiting a package. It is important to never click on links from texts before verifying the sender.
Amazon Refund Trick
There are many scams where the fraudster poses as Amazon. A common one involves fraudsters impersonating an Amazon sales representative who convinces their target victim to give them remote access to their account so they can issue a refund. This allows the scammer to gain access to credit card numbers and other personal information. Amazon has stated that any calls from a customer would be an expected one. This scam could also be run under the guise of other retailers so you should be wary of any unexpected calls from a business and never give personal information over the phone.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, you can report it to your local police, state Attorney General’s office and the FTC.
Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are also a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls. Stay vigilant and share information about scams with others.
John Haraburda is Director of Product Management at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.
Call Guardian is a registered trademark of Transaction Network Services, Inc.