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News and Community

Top 10 Holiday Scams and How to Stay Safe

The holiday season is a time for joy, giving, and celebration, but unfortunately, it also marks an upswing in cybercriminal activity. Scammers seize this festive period to exploit the increased online and in-store activities, preying on unsuspecting individuals. At Farm Bureau Bank®, we want to ensure your holidays remain merry and bright. In this article, we'll jump into the top 10 most common holiday scams and provide insights on how to avoid falling victim to them.

1. Phishing Emails and Texts 

One of the most prevalent holiday scams involves phishing emails and texts. Scammers send messages that appear to be from reputable sources, such as banks, retailers, or shipping companies, enticing recipients to click on malicious links or provide sensitive information. 

Protect Yourself: 

  • Verify the sender's email address or phone number.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  • Contact the company directly using official contact information if you have doubts about a message. 

2. Fake Charities  

During the season of giving, scammers exploit people's generosity by creating fake charities. They mimic well-known organizations, diverting funds for charitable causes to their pockets.

Protect Yourself:

  • Verify the legitimacy of charities through trusted platforms.
  • Donate directly through official websites or in person.
  • Be cautious of high-pressure tactics and requests for cash or wire transfers.

3. Gift Card Scams  

Scammers often request payment in the form of gift cards, exploiting the anonymity and irreversibility of these transactions.

Protect Yourself:

  • Be skeptical of requests for payment via gift cards.
  • Verify any payment requests directly with the individual or organization.
  • Report any suspicious requests to your bank.

4. Online Shopping Scams 

As online shopping peaks during the holidays, scammers create fake websites or listings for popular products at unbelievable prices to lure unsuspecting buyers.

Protect Yourself:

  • Purchase from reputable websites.
  • Check for secure payment options.
  • Read reviews and research sellers before making a purchase.

5. Delivery Scams

Scammers often send fake shipping notifications, claiming delivery issues to trick recipients into providing personal information or downloading malicious attachments.

Protect Yourself:

  • Verify shipping notifications directly on the courier's official website.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unexpected emails.
  • Track your online purchases through the retailer's official website.

6. Travel Scams

With the holiday travel rush, scammers create fake travel websites, offer too-good-to-be-true deals, or pose as travel agents, preying on individuals booking last-minute trips.

Protect Yourself:

  • Book through reputable travel agencies or directly through airlines and hotels.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited travel offers.
  • Double-check the legitimacy of websites and deals.

7. E-Card Scams

Scammers send fake electronic greeting cards containing malware. Clicking on links or downloading attachments can compromise your personal information.

Protect Yourself:

  • Only open e-cards from known senders.
  • Verify the legitimacy of the e-card service.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments.

8. Social Media Scams

Scammers exploit the holiday season on social media platforms, creating fake events, quizzes, or contests to harvest personal information.

Protect Yourself:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited friend requests or messages.
  • Adjust privacy settings to control who sees your information.
  • Verify the legitimacy of online events and contests.

9. Job Scams

As the year-end approaches, scammers may pose as employers offering seasonal job opportunities. They may request personal information or payment for background checks.

Protect Yourself:

  • Verify job offers through official company channels.
  • Be skeptical of requests for personal or financial information.
  • Research the legitimacy of job listings and employers.

10. Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams peak during the holidays, with scammers posing as technical support representatives, claiming issues with your devices or accounts.

Protect Yourself:

  • Never give control of your computer to someone who contacts you unsolicited.
  • Use reputable security software to protect your devices.
  • Contact your device manufacturer or service provider directly if you have concerns.

By staying vigilant and adopting these precautionary measures, you can safeguard yourself from falling victim to holiday scams. At Farm Bureau Bank®, we are committed to ensuring the security of your financial transactions. If you ever encounter suspicious activity, please contact us immediately by calling the number on the back of your card or on your bank statement. We wish you a safe and joyful holiday season!

Tags:   financial tips, fraud prevention,