Santa Fraud: How to avoid being scammed at Christmas

This holiday season will be a joyous one, for criminals. The festive season is a busy money spending period, and that makes it easier for fraudsters to steal your money.

At Hello Soda we prevent fraud for global companies, but we thought it would be a nice present to share some simple tips (that you can share with friends and family) on how to protect yourselves from any scams. 

There are two main reasons why fraud increases around festivity….

Firstly, you may be so busy (with a mix of shopping, parties, work) that you might not take the extra minute to scrutinise an email link that claims to come from a store or delivery service. 

People in a rush are also more susceptible to social engineering scams, and more likely to give details over the phone to someone pretending to help them get their packages delivered, for example. 

Secondly, there are so many more transactions on your bank or card statement that it’s easy to miss any that may be fraudulent.

Those are two big reasons why scammers get away with fraud around this time. 

What to watch out for

Here are some things to watch out for over the Christmas period… 

  • Alerts about problems with your package delivery. These could be legitimate, but double-check. If anyone calls and asks for your password, it’s a scam.
  • Fake charity emails and phone calls. Don’t give away your personal details or credentials to anyone. If you wish to donate to charity, pick a reputable one that you know well, and go via their website, not through calls or emails.   
  • Spoof emails and websites from popular brands or stores. These may look genuine, but check the links before you click. If you do click, and enter your details only to find they have been rejected, it may have been a scam. If in doubt, open a new window and put in the store’s real website. Which UK offers great tips for how to spot a scam.
  • Great deals that are so good that you want to click on them from your mobile. This is because on a laptop or tablet it’s easier to hover the mouse over the link, and see where it goes and judge whether the link address seems genuine. However, on a smartphone it’s harder to see or verify the source of the link. 

Five Golden Tips

Here are five simple tips that might help you avoid fraud at Christmas:

  • Turn on alerts, if available, from your bank or card issuer. This can inform you when spending is taking place on your card or account.
  • Check your accounts more regularly to make sure all the purchases are genuine. It’s easy to forget what you bought a few weeks later.
  • Look at your privacy settings on platforms to make sure you’re only sharing payment information you want to share.
  • Use your card for major purchases, because of the protection supplied on card purchases.
  • Don’t fall for phone calls where the caller asks for your card details. If you didn’t make the call, you don’t know that it’s legitimate. See this advice from Action Fraud in the UK.

And as seen above, be wary of links to online sites or stores with great deals that simply don’t look trustworthy. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is! And if unknown people are calling or emailing for details, and it feels wrong then don’t oblige. Ignore it, or check for yourself and investigate.

The simple rule is to not give personal details or banking details to anyone or any site that you can’t be 100% sure about. 

Hello Soda

We care about stopping fraud. We offer KYC (Know Your Customer), KYB (Know Your Business), Anti-fraud and Anti-Money Laundering tools for national and global companies and organisations in any sector to verify customers in seconds. 

If you’d like to know more about our identity verification solutions you can get in touch here.

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