These are the 5 nastiest online scams during the festive season

These are the 5 nastiest online scams during the festive season

Many people are looking for bargains on the net before Christmas – which is also exploited by online scammers. Gil Vega, Chief information Security Officer at Veeam, explains how the most common rip-offs can be detected and avoided. […]

Contemplative holidays? According to a survey by Experian, one in four people became the victim of an Internet scam during the festive season last year. The scammers know that many people are in search of bargains before Christmas, they are in a hurry and act more carelessly. What protects best: Know the scams and avoid them. The first step to avoiding it is to know how to detect the online rip-offs. Gil Vega, chief information security officer of the IT company Veeam, has summarized the most common types of online fraud.

Incorrect delivery service notifications

Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic and the associated protective measures, the number of orders to the home or office has been increasing. The scammers are aware of this and use this to their advantage, as they send fake notifications about the deliveries – often via SMS – in the hope that the recipient is really waiting for a good. These messages have been written either in the name of the seller or the delivery service, such as DHL, with a phishing link in it. However, reputable dealers call a tracking number at the respective delivery service and entering it there directly helps to avoid fraud.

Fake Websites and Internet Sellers

Many people are familiar with the search for popular, but sold-out toys. If you then come across an unknown online store during a desperate search on the Internet, which miraculously has it in stock, the joy is great. Unfortunately, there is a high chance that this offer is too good to be true. Whoever makes the purchase risks losing the money, the account data, the personal data and his identity.

Fake gift cards and vouchers

Fake gift cards, vouchers and coupons are another popular scam by scammers to lure people into the trap when they want to pay with it. Another method is to ask users to pay only with gift cards – this is always a scam.

False charities

Internet scammers are trying by all means, even under the guise of charity, to take advantage of people’s good nature and take their money out of their pockets. It is therefore advisable to be suspicious of suddenly occurring calls for donations and corresponding e-mails.

Wrong Travel Offers

As every year, many people book a trip over the festive season – for family visits or to escape the hustle and bustle for a few days. Scammers know this – and are adept at creating irresistible-sounding travel offers.

Useful tips

Be vigilant: A healthy level of mistrust can go a long way. Everyone should be on the lookout for anything unexpected, for urgent requests that want to arouse emotions excessively, or for offers that are too tempting. It is always worthwhile to check the URL of the web page for correctness.

Doing research: Before using an unknown website or an unknown provider, you should be informed about the identity. Review sites such as Trust Pilot or – in the United States when buying abroad – the Better Business Bureau can help. Also, the description of the article everyone should read in full. In 2020, some very disappointed eBay customers only received photos of the new Playstation 5 console. The hasty buyers had not read the description, which contained the very important detail that it was a photo of the console for sale, and not the console itself.

Choosing the right payment method: Credit cards often offer better protection against fraud than bank transfers. A virtual card connected to the same card account can also be considered, but it should have a different number. If possible, everyone should use only one card for online purchases, equipping it with a low credit line. Another way to protect yourself is to use a trusted payment site as a trustee, such as PayPal or paydirekt, the payment system of German banks. Thus, the card number remains unknown to the seller.

Set up alerts for bank and shopping accounts: With the help of warning messages from the bank account, strange movements and orders can be detected at an early stage.

*Gil Vega, Chief Information Security Officer at Veeam.

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