Online shopping is rapidly overtaking the high street as the place to fill up that space underneath your Christmas tree. With great offers and discounts – and the ability to get amazing cashback from sites like Quidco, it’s little wonder that our Christmas elf selves are increasingly turning to the web to make our winter wonderlands complete. Add to this the ease and convenience of doing it all on the net and it’s easy to understand why so much money is being spent online at Christmas.
With so much cash floating about and something of an online gift ‘feeding frenzy’ taking place, the bad guys are out in force too. Online scams are rife at this time of year and, if you want to keep your cash safe, you need to exercise caution. Emergency finance lenders like Wonga.com often help out the cash-strapped come Christmas time and they know just how important it is to stay safe when you’re spending your hard earned money on the web. Here’s how to protect yourself against common online Christmas scams…
If you’re shopping from your tablet or smartphone whilst out and about, keep your eyes peeled for this nasty scam. If you’re logging on to a trusted connection from your local café, make sure it’s the real deal and not an ‘evil twin’ version. Scammers can entice you to log on to their Wifi using an identical signal name and then use the information you input whilst connected to steal your identity and your money.
Also known as ‘SMiShing’ (like Phishing only via SMS) these scams will involve a text message sent to your phone, often advertising an amazing deal on a great gift. The text will include a link to a website where you can buy this gift – once you’ve input your details. As soon as you’ve entered your bank details – bam! You’ve been scammed and the smishers will have access to your hard earned cash. The lesson? Never follow unsolicited links from sources you do not know and do not trust – especially if what they’re offering sounds too good to be true.
Hot Holiday Gift Scams
Every Christmas there’s a ‘hard-to-get’, must-have gift on the market. And every year beleaguered parents go to extraordinary lengths to get hold of this gadget or gizmo for their darling children. Scammers are tapping into this festive parental desperation by sending out phishing emails offering the latest ‘hard-to-get’ gifts at a great price. All you have to do is “click on this link”. From there on in, it’s the same old story. You enter your details, you get your identity stolen and your money taken from you. Again, never open emails you don’t trust and certainly don’t follow any links contained within them.
Another source of dodgy links, only this time packaged to look like jolly Christmas eCards. If they’re not sent from a name you recognise, don’t click on any links within these mean scam phishing emails.
In all likelihood you’ll be getting all sorts of shipping notifications this season. But there’s a chance that some of these may be bogus phishing emails. If you don’t recognise the information or the sender, you know what to do – that’s right – don’t click anything and never give any site you do not trust your details!
Keep your eyes peeled for these scams, shop safe and have a very Happy Christmas!