Christmas Shopping Scam Trends in 2022: Delivery Texts and More

You should definitely think twice before clicking the “Delivery Notification” link.

Whether you’re a Black Friday fan or a last-minute shopper, the holidays are likely to be a busy time for you. It’s also a busy – and profitable – time for scammers.

Scammers can swipe gift cards, lure you into too good to be true, social media ads and send fake delivery notifications that will take away more than your holiday cheer. Here’s how to beware of some of the most common scams this holiday shopping season.

Pirates on the porch aren’t the only problem

Lots of packages are sent and received during the holiday season, and it’s not just pirates on the porch that are affected. A recent AARP poll of US adults found that 29% received a fake notification about a shipping problem. These SMS or e-mails raise more than just hopes for a package that doesn’t exist.

“They try to trick you into clicking a link and going to a page that looks like FedEx or UPS, but it really isn’t,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud prevention. “You log in with credentials, you log in with payment credentials — whatever you log in there, they steal.”

TIED TOGETHER: Freight forwarders welcome on-time holiday deliveries

If you get an unexpected text message about a delivery and want to see if it’s a real delivery, Stokes recommends checking the courier’s official website for contact information.

Big parcel services like FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service They often let you sign up for delivery updates, but they won’t text you out of the blue. With your personal information at stake, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Your payment method is important

When shopping online, think twice about how you pay. Credit cards are considered safer for online payments than debit cards as they offer more protection in the event of fraud.

Gift cards pose another set of problems. AARP’s survey found that 26% of respondents have given or received a gift card only to find out there was no money on it.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but scammers can walk into a store, take cards off the shelf, write the information on the back and just wait for them to sell so they can empty them,” Stokes said.

When you buy a gift card in store, experts recommend Check if the back of the card has been tampered with to reveal the PIN. Scammers can also find ways to steal gift cards online using methods like bots that input random gift card numbers and PINs. It’s a good idea to redeem the gift card online sooner rather than later so scammers have less time to steal the money.

One thing to keep in mind throughout the year: gift cards are for gifts, not payments. When someone calls and asks you to pay them with gift cards, this is a scam. Similar considerations apply to peer-to-peer payment methods such as cell or PayPal.

This ad might make you sad

You’re scrolling through your social media feed during the holiday season when you see it: The perfect gift you’ve been looking for and at a great price! So hurry to buy it and enter your payment information. You may not suspect a problem until three weeks later and your package still hasn’t arrived.

“A lot of these fake websites will pop up, they’ll trick a few consumers into giving up their information, and then they’re gone,” said Melanie McGovern, public relations director of the Better Business Bureau.

Shady websites can send you substandard goods that don’t match the advertisements, scam you by not delivering the product at all, or even steal your information.

Corresponding A report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint CenterAmericans lost more than $337 million to non-payment or non-delivery fraud in 2021. The FBI says reports of internet fraud increase in the first few months of each year, suggesting the holidays are a bad time to be sloppy with your financial information.

“They really want to do these checks and make sure this site is legitimate,” McGovern said. “If the site looks a bit off-putting in claiming it’s an established retailer, just look at this URL. One mistake in one letter could lead you down a rabbit hole full of fake websites – you really should be careful.”

The big picture

Holiday season or not, fraud is a profitable industry that is evolving rapidly – and anyone can fall victim. AARP’s survey found that 81% of respondents aged 18 to 34 had experienced some type of fraud, while that number dropped to 69% for those over 65.

“Most people believe that cheating disproportionately targets older adults,” Stokes said. “And that’s not true at all. Younger people lose more money to scams than older people. But the catch is, when you’re an older adult, you have more to lose.”

Basic cybersecurity measures like updating your computer or phone system when prompted and using antivirus software can go a long way. It’s also a good idea to stay organized.

“Keep a list and just keep track of it so it’s easier for you to figure out if something went wrong and how to fix it,” McGovern said. Christmas Shopping Scam Trends in 2022: Delivery Texts and More

Laura Coffey

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