Home Business Insights & Advice Top holiday scams to watch out for in 2024

Top holiday scams to watch out for in 2024

by LLB Reporter
12th Dec 23 11:11 am

It’s that time of the year – festive spirits are aplenty, christmas delicacies are in abundance and everyone turns into a shopaholic looking for online deals.

But this time of the year is also prey season for scammers searching for new targets.

It happens every year. Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) showed that shoppers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were scammed out of £15.3m between November 2021 and January 2022, and that the age group most likely to fall victim was 19 to 25-year-olds.

So what do you do? Here are the top holiday scams to watch out for:

1. Letters from Santa

No, you’re not the chosen one. Emails and letters from scammers posing as Santa are very common, according to CyberGhost.

Scammers also make fake websites posing as charitable organizations, promising to send your child a handwritten letter from Santa for a small fee that you feel won’t break your bank. But the letters never turn up.

Falling victim to such scams is dangerous as perpetrators could use sensitive information such as your child’s details, home address and bank account details and can post it on the dark web.

2. A friend in need scam

Scammers also try to trick people out of their money by running campaigns on social media sites to raise money for fake charitable causes. They put forth a compelling story about illnesses or homelessness to play with victims emotions and get them to donate money to a non-existent cause.

These scams are also quite prevalent on phones as victims get a text message saying “Hi mum” which makes you feel it is from your child. Double-checking which numbers these are sent from are a good first step to safeguard yourselves against bogus campaigns like these.

3. Fake delivery texts

Another common scam is people receiving texts saying their delivery is delayed with a link to a website of a courier provider that looks real. The link asks people for a nominal fee of £1 to get their stuff delivered on time which makes unsuspecting victims enter their bank account details.

These kind of holiday scams have grown exponentially in the past couple of years, thanks to the rise in online shopping around the holiday season.

4. A “free” Christmas hamper

The prospect of a “free” Christmas hamper is enough for people to trust suspicious websites hankering after your data or money. Fake giveaways are rife on social media and text messages where scammers try to lure you by posing as different brands that are offering free wine, chocolates or other festive delights.

5. Elf name generators

The fake generators that pop around the holiday season are phishing scams to collect your data. These generators will ask you basic questions like name, address and date of birth.

But if this data falls into wrong hands it can be sold for internet scams.

Malware distribution is another lurking danger. You click to “find out your elf name”, and malicious software starts downloading. Then, your personal data can be stolen, with ransomware introduced, or other types of havoc put on your device..

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