Five Christmas scams to look out for

Posted December 1st, 2022 by SimpliSafe

Stay protected this Christmas, as SimpliSafe shares five Christmas scams to look out for, and how to avoid them.

What is a Christmas scam?

With the holiday season fast approaching, keen shoppers must remain vigilant when browsing the web in search of a good deal. Scammers often target Christmas shoppers, using a variety of deceptive methods that aim to uncover sensitive personal information - such as financial details or identity documents. Once obtaining these details, it’ll be easier for them to access your bank account, or commit identity theft. 

So, don’t fall victim to the Christmas rush, and keep your wits about you as you scour the web. By learning how to recognise the key characteristics of popular Christmas scams, you can stop a scammer in their tracks before the situation escalates. 

Christmas scams to look out for

1) Fake websites

Christmas scammers may try to copy professional websites - from the typography to images - as much as possible, all to lure their unsuspecting victims into making a purchase. However, in these instances, the outcome is a little less festive. Scammers could use this as a way to get their hands on personal information, or to put malware on your system - a Christmas surprise you definitely won’t want to wake up to. To stay safe, keep an eye out for grammatical errors, typos, dodgy URLs, and check the contact information provided. If you’re struggling to get hold of someone, and are instead met with a generic, prerecorded voice message, you may have landed on a fake site. 

2) Gift card scams

When purchasing a Christmas gift and making your way to the checkout, be wary if you’re asked to pay in gift cards. This is a popular scam that allows fraudsters to steal money from their victims, mainly because gift cards are untrackable. A legitimate seller will always ask you to pay using a credit card, or via a trusted, secure payment platform, such as PayPal. 

3) Holiday phishing scams 

Jetting away this Christmas? Be wary of holiday phishing scams to avoid spoiling the festivities. Scammers may use Black Friday to their advantage by enticing holiday-goers with fake advertisements. From flight booking scams to accommodation scams, if you’re not careful, your entire holiday could be ruined. 

So, how do you avoid holiday booking scams? Ultimately, if an offer appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Before letting the excitement cloud your judgement, you should always check whether your holiday packages are ABTA or ATOL protected, which means that you’ll be legally and financially covered if something should go wrong. You could also check whether your accommodation has genuine good reviews online to confirm whether it’s legitimate. Just as before, keep an eye out for spelling errors, too, which could indicate that you’re being scammed. If you can, always pay for a holiday or something with a big expense on a credit card so you’re covered. 

4) Delivery scams

‘Smishing’ - which is the name given to phishing scams that use mobile phones and text messages to communicate with victims - is yet another scam that commonly circulates at Christmas. Scammers deceive the recipient by sending a text which says that the courier was unable to make a delivery. They will then ask their victim to provide their personal and financial details to rearrange the delivery, which opens the door to fraud. So if you’re expecting plenty of parcels this Christmas, don’t fall victim to smishing. Never share sensitive information with someone you don’t know, and if you did need to be contacted regarding a missed delivery, you should receive an official email from a trusted source. 

5) E-card scams

If you receive a digital greeting card this Christmas, open it with caution. Although most are usually harmless and sent with good intent, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t at risk of being scammed. Some E-cards will contain malware that allows a hacker to access your financial information - which is a recipe for disaster. 

Before opening an E-card, always check the sender and delete any that have been sent from an unknown source. Sometimes scammers can even pose as friends or family members, so contact them to see if they have in fact sent you an E-card. For an additional layer of security, you should install security software on your computer, which should protect your device if you accidentally open a fake E-card. 

Make sure that your property is protected not just this Christmas, but all year round, with the SimpliSafe home security system. Customise your own perfect security system with a variety of additional alarm sensors, and sign up to our professional monitoring plan for complete peace of mind over the festive period. Want to find out more? Contact our team today.