Scammers take advantage of those who want to give during the holiday season, warns Credit & Debt CEO Jeff Mandel in an interview with LiveNOW from Fox.
Credit & Debt is a financial planning brand under parent company IDIQ, which offers industry-leading identity theft protection and credit monitoring products through their IdentityIQ and MyScoreIQ brands.
“They are doing everything they possibly can to get you to provide your information,” Mandel explained.
What’s worse is that scams are at an all-time high during the holiday season. A new study reveals that 81% of US consumers see an uptick in cybercriminal activity during the holiday season.
Consumers may fall victim to a variety of scams this holiday season, which can come in the form of charity scams, phishing websites, fake shipping notifications, misleading social media ads, solicitations for free gift cards, and even puppy scams.
For many consumers, the harsh reality is that they don’t know what to look for when it comes to holiday scams. In fact, according to the AARP, most consumers ages 18 and older are wrong or unsure about certain safe shopping practices.
Mandel reveals how consumers can help protect themselves from scams this holiday season.
Tips to Help Avoid Holiday Scams
1. Be Extra Cautious About Transactions
Be extra cautious in all your holiday transactions. Consider using cash for in-person purchases. For online purchases, rely on legitimate payment methods like credit cards.
You should also be wary of scammers attempting to emulate popular payment app services such as Zelle and PayPal.
2. Verify the Legitimacy of Emails
Email scams are a common tactic used by scammers during the holidays, so you should always take the time to verify the legitimacy of emails or messages you receive.
Be on the lookout for fake emails that appear to be from reputable companies like FedEx. Hover over sender names to check for misspellings or suspicious variations.
It’s important to take your time verifying the sender’s identity, especially if it’s someone you haven’t interacted with before.
If an email takes you to a website, scrutinize the quality of the website to make sure it’s legitimate, and use your common judgment before providing personal information.
You should also keep in mind that real companies usually don’t request sensitive information through email.
3. Use an Identity Monitoring Service
Mandel’s top advice for protecting your personal information is to use an identity monitoring service. IdentityIQ delivers industry-leading protection to help cover you if your private information falls into the hands of a scammer.
IdentityIQ can help protect you from identity theft by monitoring your personal information and alerting you to suspicious activity. Taking quick action with the help of an identity monitoring service can help minimize the potential damage caused by a security breach.
4. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi may be convenient, but it’s also a hotspot for potential threats. Whenever possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi, especially when entering sensitive information like credit card details.
If you find yourself in a situation where using public Wi-Fi is necessary, be careful about what you’re doing online. The best practice is to avoid accessing sensitive accounts or making financial transactions that could potentially give scammers insight into your sensitive information or passwords.