Common Holiday Cybercrimes

Published On: December 14th, 2023

Common Holiday Cybercrimes

During the holiday season, there is a considerable increase in online scams, specifically those targeting older adults. PCS aims to protect businesses and people from cybercrimes, and we will outline some of the most common scams that occur and how to combat them in this blog.

$281 Million Lost To Internet Scams In 2022

The FBI released a report in which they stated that Americans lost a combined total of over $281 million to internet scams in 2022. The nature of the crimes ranged in type but largely included areas of business that typically increase during the holiday season, like online shopping. The following are some of the most common scams a consumer may come across during the holiday season and how one can prevent a loss.

Types of Scams

  • Imitation Online Stores: Be aware, some stores or websites you see online may be entirely fake and made to resemble a legitimate business. Be wary of red flags, where items are discounted too significantly. If it sounds too good to be true, take an extra moment to ensure that the website you are on is real and not one that steals credit card information.
  • Missed Delivery Messages: Commerce has shifted to be more virtual, and as a result we can expect packages to be delivered straight to our doorsteps. Be mindful of any messages or notifications you receive that say you missed a package. If it leads you to a website or asks you for personal information, it may be designed as a scam to steal one’s information.
  • Gift Card Scams: Beware of websites that ask you to buy gift cards at extremely discounted rates or use a gift card to pay for a fraudulent good or service. Buy only from reputable sellers, as otherwise the gift card you receive may have no balance.
  • Phishing Emails and Texts: With the uptick in shopping, you may receive a text message or email posing as your financial institution or credit card company. Be aware that they may not be legitimate communication but rather designed carefully by scammers to pretend to be real, hoping to steal your information. Avoid advertisements and communications that make promises of grand giveaways and prizes. Rather than using the links provided in the communication, go to your financial institution’s main website to access your account.

Scams Targeting Seniors

Unfortunately, older adults are often targeted for scams as they may be more inclined to believe a scammer’s narrative. Adults 60 years and older reported the highest financial losses per the report mentioned earlier in this blog post. Scams that target seniors include lottery scams where callers convince their targets that a tax or fee is due before, they can receive a winning, scams that convince seniors that their grandchildren are in trouble and need money, and IRS imposter scams.

 

To summarize, here are some tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:

 

  • Don’t share personal information with people you don’t know, verify that the person you are speaking with is in fact legitimate.
  • Don’t click links you don’t recognize.
  • Ignore harassing phone calls and don’t fall for high-pressure pitches about lucrative businesses opportunities.
  • Deleting phishing texts and emails.

 

As a final test to see if an offer is legitimate, consider talking to an outside resource like a friend, family member, or reputable IT company like Pittsburgh Computer Solutions. Our team has vast experience recognizing and defending against various cybercrimes using state-of-the-art software and best practices. If your business has fallen victim to a cyberattack or you want to establish preventative measures to avoid such losses, reach out to us today at (724)942-1337.

 

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