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Do You Know How To Spot the Latest Holiday Scams?

December 16, 2022

Holiday scams capitalize on the increase in online shopping, travel, and charitable giving during the holiday season by trying to trick you into giving up money, gift cards, or sensitive information.  

In one example, a Maryland woman was shocked to receive an email from Amazon claiming that her account had been hacked. The only way to protect herself from scammers, she was told, was to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of Amazon gift cards and share the numbers on the back. By the time she realized it was a scam, she’d already sent the fraudsters over $6,900 . (Source: - Woman loses thousands in Amazon fraud scam.)  

The 15 Latest Holiday Scams To Watch Out for in 2022 (via Aura.com): 

  1. Fake charities that steal your money
  2. Gift card scams (including empty gift cards)
  3. Lookalike online stores
  4. Phishing emails from companies you trust
  5. Fraudulent seasonal jobs
  6. Missed delivery notification scam texts
  7. Grandparent scams
  8. Social ads promoting fraudulent items
  9. Popular holiday gifts at low prices
  10. Holiday travel and online airfare scams
  11. Fake online giveaways and surveys
  12. Scam online gift exchanges
  13. Hacking over public Wi-Fi
  14. Stealing mail and packages
  15. Shoulder surfing and card skimming

Remember, any message could be from a scammer, who might: 

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t 
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t 
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t 
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake 
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware 
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam 
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real 

For more detailed information on how to protect your digital footprint, please visit the UC Merced Information Security Office website and the University of California Office of the President Information Security Tips and Fact Sheets. Remember, if you suspect you are the victim of an online scam, be sure to report it to the Information Security Office at https://it.ucmerced.edu/Incident!

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