Holiday cyber scams: 5 things to avoid

Holiday cyber scams are increasingly common. 

According to the FBI, thousands of people become victims of holiday scams every year. The two most prevalent scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes. 

In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Alternatively, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped – but the seller is never paid.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2021 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $337 million. 

Detail of someone typing on the keyboard of an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer in a cafe, taken on Nov. 18, 2016. 
((Photo by James Sheppard/Future via Getty Images))

LAST-MINUTE GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

In addition, the agency said credit card fraud accounted for another $173 million in losses.

Another scam to look out for is auction fraud, where a product is misrepresented on an auction site, as well as gift card fraud. 

Here’s a look at five cyber scams to watch out for this year, according to Norton. 

Close up detail of a businessman working at a desk with a smartphone and laptop computer, taken on January 31, 2019. 

Close up detail of a businessman working at a desk with a smartphone and laptop computer, taken on January 31, 2019. 
((Photo by Neil Godwin/Future via Getty Images))

Clicking on links for fake orders

Hackers will mimic big retailers, sharing links indicating that there is something wrong with your order.

Supporting non-existent charities

APPLE’S REPLACEMENT FOR THE PASSWORD

Double-check the organizations you’re giving money to before making any donations.

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 21, 2017: A woman uses her smartphone while waiting to board a plane at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

DALLAS, TX – SEPTEMBER 21, 2017: A woman uses her smartphone while waiting to board a plane at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
((Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images))

Shopping on fake websites

Stay skeptical about incredibly low deals and suspicious-looking websites.

Using gift cards for purchases

Cybercriminals who act as sellers frequently suggest gift cards as a form of payment. They may ask for an electronic version of the card and once they have this information, they’ll use it to buy whatever they want with the gift card. Stick to credit card purchases.

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Don’t use airport Wi-Fi

Instead of using the Wi-Fi from the airport, keep your company and yourself safe by sticking to password-protected services.

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