Scammers Take Advantage of The Festive Season! Don’t Get Caught Out!2 Comments

By SassyChic
Posted on 01 Dec 2010 at 6:10pm

I never been outrageously scammed before but I know people close to me that have and it’s no laughing matter. Not only does it take the hard working money out our front and back pockets, it is also a violation of privacy and personal information.

There have been a few scams alerts floating about recently so keep all you sassy ladies savvy and aware of what to look out for, here are the most damaging and current Christmas season scams floating about…This is how scammers earn a living and this is the peak season for them to get a hold of your hard earned money.

BUYER BEWARE SO THE SAYING GOES!

 iPad OFFER SCAMS – According to McAfee Apple products feature on many shopping lists this Christmas, and scammers are taking advantage of this by distributing bogus offers for free iPads. In the spam version of the scam, consumers are asked to purchase other products and provide their credit card number to get the free iPad. Victims never receive the iPad or the other items, and victims have to report a stolen credit card number. This scam is also found on social networking websites.

FAKE GIFT CARDS – Online scammers are using social networking websites to promote fake gift card offers. In fact, they steal consumers’ information and money, which can then be used to commit identity fraud.

HOLIDAY JOB OFFERS – This scam has been seen on social networking site Twitter, where links are posted to high-paying, work-at-home jobs. The fraudsters ask for personal information, such as your email address, home address and other personal details in order to apply for the fake job.

SMISHING -  Scammers are sending ‘phishing SMS text messages’ which appear to come from your bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with an account and you have to call a number to verify your account information. In reality, these efforts are a tool to extract valuable personal information from the targets. Fraudsters know that people are more vulnerable to this scam during the holiday season when consumers are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently.

SUSPICIOUS HOLIDAY RENTALS - during peak travel times when consumers often look online for affordable holiday rentals, fraudsters post fake holiday rental sites that ask for upfront payments on properties by credit card or wire transfer.

LOAN SCAMS – Scammers are sending spam emails advertising prequalified, low-interest loans and credit cards if the recipient pays a processing fee, which goes directly into the fraudster’s pocket.

LOW-PRICE TRAPS – Shoppers should be cautious of products offered at prices far below competitors. Online scammers use auction sites and fake websites to offer too-good-to-be-true deals with the goal of stealing your money and information.

CHARITY SCAMS – As Christmas is traditionally a time of giving, McAfee is predicting a rise in charity scams during the festive season. Some common charity scams include phone calls and spam e-mails asking you to donate to charities and disaster relief funds.

DANGEROUS HOLIDAY DOWNLOADS – Holiday-themed screensavers, jingles and animations are an easy way for scammers to spread viruses and other computer threats. Links often come from an email or message that appears to be from a friend, and scammers may be able to glean personal information from the computers it has infected.

WI-JACKING IN HOTELS AND AIRPORTS – When people travel and use free wi-fi in places like hotels and airports, it can be an opportunity for criminals to hack into networks hoping to find opportunities for theft of personal information that can be used to commit fraud.

 

*SCAMS RELEAVANT TO UNITED KINGDOM*

ELECTRICITY SCAM – According to ‘Action Fraud’ the UK is being warned to avoid a scam in which criminals offer cut-price energy to those with pre-payment meters. A report by Energy UK shows the number of customers affected has reached 114,000, and reveals the top 20 hotspots for prepayment meter fraud. Data from the leading energy companies shows that the fraud organised by criminal gangs is hitting customers across the country. The worst affected areas range from big cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester to areas such as Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea. 
 
Customers are being urged to only buy their electricity meter top-ups from official Pay Point and Pay zone retailers or the Post Office to avoid being scammed. Otherwise, the customer will end up paying twice: once to the criminal and then again to their electricity supplier who can detect the fraud.

POSTAL SCAM – it has been confirmed by Royal Mail that the Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam. A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate number).

DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER, AS THIS IS A MAIL SCAM ORIGINATING FROM BELIZE.

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed for £315.00 the phone call (YES YOU READ RIGHT).

IF YOU DO RECEIVE A CARD WITH THESE DETAILS, THEN PLEASE CONTACT ROYAL MAIL FRAUD ON 020 7239 6655.

MCAFEE’S TOP TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF!!

1. Stick to well-established and trusted sites that include trust marks (icons or seals from third parties verifying that the site is safe), user reviews and customer support. A reputable trust mark provider will have a live link attached to its trust mark icon, which will take visitors to a verification website of the trust mark provider. 

2. Do not respond to offers that arrive in a spam email, text or instant message.

3. Preview a link’s web address before you click on it to make sure it is going to an established site. Never download or click anything from an unknown source.

4. Stay away from vendors that offer prices well below the norm. Don’t believe anything that’s too good to be true. 

5. Make sure to use trusted wi-fi networks. Don’t check bank accounts or shop online if you’re not sure the network is safe.

6. To make sure your online shopping is safe and secure, remember these top tips:

7. Use secure websites that you trust. Do your research before making a purchase. Check online forums for feedback

8. Do they have a real-world presence? Can you see their address and phone number? Is it a valid UK registered phone number?

9. Check the browser address changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’ to indicate you have a secure connection and look for a padlock or an unbroken key symbol on your web browser

10. If website prices for designer items, games and smart phones seem too good to be true, they probably are. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted

Visit www.getsafeonline.org.uk for other tips on staying safe online.

 To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Source: McAffee, BBC News and Royal Mail

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  • maame

    ohh yeahh scams everywhere. people e mail me telling me back card needs to be checked and i shd called this number to verify it but ohh lord no i dont. Free ipad or ipod online is always fake!!

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  • maame

    Yup fake gift cards too! Tryna steal people’s moneyy hmm and most of these also bring viruses to your computer.

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