Special Edition of Fraud Facts: Online Holiday Shopping Scam Guide

Person shopping online

It’s that time of the year to shop for special gifts for loved ones! For many, that shopping occurs online. Fraudsters like to take advantage of this and target shoppers entering personal and financial information on the web. So, while you’re looking for the best deals this season, be on high alert for holiday shopping scams.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Don’t open attachments with special offers.
This is a classic scam. If the email presents a valid offer, you shouldn’t have to open an attachment or click on a link.

Watch for malicious ads and pop-ups.
Do not click on ads that sound too good to be true. Ignore pop-ups that make “best deal ever” claims.

Do not shop over public Wi-Fi.
Never send sensitive data over free or public wi-fi networks. You can’t be sure if the network is secure, or if others are spying on your online session. If you must use public wi-fi, be sure to use a VPN connection which encrypts your information.

Be very cautious of “free offers” during the holidays.  
During this time of the year, there’s a huge spike in all types of survey fraud and gift card scams.

Do not reuse any of your passwords.
This is best practice year-round, not just during the holidays. Reusing any of your passwords is an invitation to get hacked. Instead, use a password manager to create hard-to-break passwords.

Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts.
During the holiday season and all year long, monitor your credit card and bank statements. Unexpected charges are typically the first sign that your card, or even your whole identity has been stolen. If you think you’ve been scammed, stay calm and call your credit card company immediately.

Be especially suspicious of gift card scams.
They can be a perfect holiday gift, but gift card scams are skyrocketing. Only buy gift cards from trusted sources.

Remember, cPort is always here to help. If you receive a suspicious call or text, call cPort directly at 1-800-464-0253. Even if our offices are closed, option 2 on our main menu will connect you to 24/7 card support.