The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) and Scam Watch Pilipinas have collaborated to protect consumers this holiday season by publishing a thorough list of probable frauds called the “12 Scams of Christmas.”
Usec. Alexander Ramos, Executive Director of CICC, says that as more people shop online for gifts, clothes, and food for different events, there is often a spike in online scams throughout the holiday season. Scammers take advantage of the festive mood and use various strategies, such as tricking people into making donations to fake charities.
12 Scams of Christmas
In the age of digitalization, the ease of shopping online has come to be linked with the holidays. The many scams that aim to take advantage of innocent individuals spread throughout the internet world along with the festive mood. This news article explores the unique aspects of each scam, illuminating the dishonest strategies used and providing advice on how customers might safeguard themselves while engaging in online shopping. These are the 12 Scams of Christmas everyone should be aware of.
Fake Shipping and Delivery Notifications
Fake shipment and delivery notifications are one of the numerous scams that are getting more and more popular. Holiday package anticipation is a prime target for scammers, who pose as reputable delivery agencies and send misleading communications. The victims are tricked into supplying personal information or clicking on malicious links, which leads to identity theft or financial fraud. Customers are advised to confirm tracking details immediately on the shipping company’s official website and to proceed with care if they get unexpected messages.
Fake Online Charity Scams
Those who have a desire to give around the holidays are more prone to fake online charity scams. Fraudsters take advantage of empathy by fabricating fake charity websites or utilizing phishing techniques to raise money. Potential contributors should use reputable contribution platforms and confirm the charity’s legality by looking up its official registration status in order to avoid becoming victims. Since genuine charities frequently have an open history, any suspicions should be investigated thoroughly before making a donation.
Fake Shopping Websites
The growth of e-commerce has led to the creation of fraudulent websites that imitate authentic platforms. These fake websites entice users with alluring discounts on well-known items. It is recommended that customers carefully examine websites to ensure their legitimacy, making sure to look for safe payment options, reputable client testimonials, and contact details. Using reputable e-commerce platforms might also offer an extra degree of protection against falling for these shady websites.
Fake Online Sellers
Similar to fake shopping websites, fake online sellers operate on platforms where users can buy and sell goods. Scammers create fake profiles, often offering high-demand items at unbelievably low prices. Vigilance is crucial when dealing with unknown sellers. Verifying seller reviews, cross-referencing contact information, and opting for secure payment methods can help consumers discern legitimate sellers from fraudulent ones.
Free Trial Scams
Free trials have a seductive quality about them, especially around the holidays. Scammers take advantage of this by pretending to give free trials of goods or services, but in order to pay processing costs, they ask for credit card information from their victims. Once they have your information, fraudsters could steal your identity or levy outrageous fees. It is recommended that customers utilize virtual credit cards for additional protection, read terms and conditions carefully, and avoid accepting offers that seem too good to be true.
Fake Christmas Gift Card Scams
Gift cards have become a popular present, and scammers exploit this trend through fake Christmas gift card scams. Fraudsters may sell counterfeit or previously used gift cards, leaving recipients with worthless items. To avoid falling victim, consumers should purchase gift cards from reputable sources, check for tampering or irregularities, and keep receipts as proof of purchase.
Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams often involve criminals posing as legitimate tech support representatives, reaching out through unsolicited calls or messages. During the holidays, scammers may capitalize on the increased use of electronic devices for shopping and communication. Individuals should be cautious of unsolicited tech support offers, avoid granting remote access to unknown parties, and seek assistance from official customer support channels if needed.
Crypto Investment Scams
The rise of cryptocurrencies has given scammers a new avenue for exploitation. Crypto investment scams lure individuals with promises of high returns and quick profits. As the holiday season approaches, scammers may intensify efforts to capitalize on the desire for financial gains. Consumers are urged to conduct thorough research, avoid unsolicited investment offers, and use reputable cryptocurrency exchanges for transactions.
Fake Relative/Friend Scams
Exploiting the emotional connections between individuals, fake relative or friend scams involve scammers posing as someone known to the victim. This can manifest through fraudulent messages requesting urgent financial assistance. To avoid falling prey to such scams, individuals should verify the identity of the person making the request through alternative communication channels and refrain from sharing sensitive information impulsively.
The holiday season can be a lonely time for some, making individuals susceptible to dating scams. Scammers create fake profiles on dating platforms, establishing romantic connections before exploiting emotions for financial gain. Those engaging in online dating should exercise caution, avoid sharing personal or financial information prematurely, and meet in public places when deciding to take relationships offline.
Foreign Exchange Investment Scams
Foreign exchange (forex) investment scams target individuals interested in currency trading. With promises of significant returns, scammers may lure unsuspecting investors into fraudulent schemes. As the holiday season unfolds, individuals should be wary of unsolicited investment opportunities, conduct due diligence, and seek advice from reputable financial experts before engaging in forex trading.
The financial strain that often accompanies holiday expenses makes individuals susceptible to loan scams. Fraudsters may offer attractive loan deals, requiring upfront fees or personal information. Consumers should exercise caution, thoroughly review loan terms, and only engage with reputable lending institutions. Being wary of unsolicited loan offers can help individuals avoid falling victim to deceptive lending practices.
Officials emphasized specific red flags for consumers to remain vigilant, such as unusually low prices, immediate requests for money, and unfamiliar links on websites. It is advisable to make purchases through legitimate shopping apps where businesses are registered.
Co-lead convenor of Scam Watch Pilipinas, Jocel De Guzman, urged the public to adopt a proactive approach in dealing with scams, advising them to follow the five rules: magdamot (be cautious), magduda (be skeptical), magsnub (ignore), magsumbong (report), and maghanda (be prepared). De Guzman highlighted that cultivating awareness and promptly reporting suspicious incidents are crucial in combatting scams.
Ramos agreed that people can be aware of a deal’s potential to be a scam, but they might still be drawn in by the low price. He underlined that even in these situations, care is still necessary because falling for a scam might result in financial losses.
Authorities are advising people to use more caution while transacting online because the Asia Scam Report 2023 just identified the Philippines as having a high percentage of retail scams. Ramos emphasized the difficulties of retrieving money that has been provided to con artists, highlighting the value of taking extra precautions while transferring money online.