Cyber Grinches: How to Avoid Online Scams During the Holidays

The Grinch isn’t the only one trying to steal Christmas joy; online scammers are doing that and more this holiday season. Online scams often aim to steal your hard-earned cash and personal information. This holiday season, don’t fall into a cyber Grinches trap. Here’s how to avoid online scams during the holidays to keep your personal information intact.

How the Cyber Grinch Steals Christmas

People often find themselves rushed during the holiday season, and online shopping can help ease the stress of purchasing presents. Bad actors know this and take advantage of the holiday rush. They target online shoppers with malicious websites, shipping scams and fake online stores. Since fraudsters are working overtime this holiday season, you should be extra careful when making online purchases.

Tips to Avoid Online Scams During the Holidays

Pay Close Attention to URLs

URLs are the address of the website you’re trying to reach. Scammers count on people not paying attention to detail and missing changes to a few characters in the web address, leading to malicious sites. To avoid this, pay attention to the URL you’re following, and don’t click on links in emails or texts. Even better, always type in the merchant’s URL in the address bar on your own without following links.

Be Wary of Shopping on Social Media

Social media has changed how people shop by directly integrating targeted ads into various platforms. However, if the ad shows a deal too good to be true, it probably is. Some cyber Grinches post fake advertisements that are phishing for your personal information, or they may simply take your money without ever delivering a product. To avoid this, don’t click on ads on social media. Instead, navigate to the merchant’s website to order there.

Pay Attention to Details on the Merchant’s Site

Make sure to pay attention to details on the merchant’s site to ensure it’s legitimate. For example, any spelling or grammar errors can indicate it’s a copycat website. If the checkout page looks different, that can also suggest it’s not the actual website. Finally, you can check for pages with privacy, contact, or dispute information, as reputable sites typically have this information listed.

Don’t Fall for Shipping Scams

Chances are, after ordering gifts online, you’ll want to monitor the shipping progress to ensure they arrive on time. Reputable merchants typically provide tracking numbers and emails detailing the shipment progress. However, scammers sometimes send texts or emails requesting personal information like your social security number or bank account information to “schedule shipping.” Avoid falling for this by not responding to suspicious emails or texts and by contacting the shipping carrier directly to confirm if the request was legitimate.

Don’t let cyber Grinches steal your personal information and holiday spirit. By staying vigilant, you can avoid online scams during the holidays and keep your personal information secure.

About Michigan Home Lender, Julie Krumholz from Superior National Bank

With 35 years of industry experience, Julie Krumholz from Superior National Bank has worked in nearly all aspects of mortgage banking. Throughout the years she has worked in processing, closing and loan origination, underwriting, QC auditing and has even co-owned a mortgage brokerage firm. If you are looking for an experienced lender in Michigan, call Julie from Superior National Bank and let her help you navigate through the loan process and answer any questions you may have.

Call Julie Krumholz for help with your homebuying needs at 586-382-5482.