Residents of Boone County, Illinois Are Warned About Christmas Gift Text Scam
This new text scam may be circulating the Boone County area right now, but it's only a matter of time before it makes its way to a phone near you too.
'Tis the Season for Scamming
With all the online shopping people do during the holiday season, it's no surprise scammers are upping their online game too. A good rule of thumb to remember when you're hunting for the best deal on an item you want to buy is; if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is. These "hot" deals may come your way via many different avenues, but if you receive a random text or email from an unknown sender or business, don't click any links!
Here's a great example of a bogus deal that the Boone County Fire Protection District warned residents about recently...
Since we're on the subject of online scams, I recently came across an article from PNC about the biggest scams people should be on the lookout for this holiday season.
Here are the top 12 scams PNC says too many people fall for during the Christmas season...
The 12 Scams of Christmas
- Fake offers for a letter from Santa - While you may receive a personalized letter from Santa to your child, you just gave strangers a whole bunch of personal info which is never a good idea.
- Gift card scams - This particular scam can take many different forms that are often hard to spot, so buying gift cards in person from legitimate retailers is always the safest way to go.
- Card reader scams - ATMs and gas pumps are the most popular places scammers like to install skimming devices, so make sure you choose a well-lit, highly-visible machine when using an ATM or paying for gas using a credit or debit card.
- Curbside pickup scams - I'm a big fan of the buy online, pickup curbside or in-store option that most retailers offer these days, but the lack of interaction and card verification that often occurs during these transactions make it really easy for bad guys to use your credit card to buy stuff and never get caught.
- Pickpockets - This scam may be as old as time, but it still happens way too frequently and gives thieves access to way more than cash money.
- "Too Good to Be True" Ads - Earlier I mentioned that too-good-to-true deals usually are, and pop-up ads are the major way scammers reel us in. Don't let that happen.
- Gift Card Payment Scams - If you're making a purchase online and are asked to pay with a gift card or wire money, cancel that transaction immediately.
- Fake Websites - If you're like me and often use search engines like Google to find the best price for something you want to buy, make sure you only buy from known websites and retailers, not just some random website that offered a ridiculously low price.
- Fake Delivery and Shipping Notifications - I've been getting a ton of texts and emails lately saying my "shipment has been delayed" and that I need to click some link to get the situation resolved. Don't click! Go to the retailer's website and check your order history for yourself.
- Hacked Charging Stations - Here's one I wasn't really aware of; cyber criminals like to use public charging stations to either steal sensitive info from the device you are charging or infect it with some nasty malware.
- Seasonal Job Scams - Before you sign on for an extra job this holiday season, make sure the company is reputable and not just stealing your personal information.
- Fake Holiday E-Cards - Many people are choosing to send their holiday cards via email instead of snail mail these days, but if you receive an e-card from someone you don't know...don't open it. Ever.