How to Prevent Fraud During the Holidays

Alina Myakota |

The holiday season is known to have an increased number of frauds and scams. The report titled "Holiday Fraud: Fight Back Against Joy-Stealing Criminals" reveals insights from an AARP survey conducted among 1,880 U.S. consumers aged 18 and above. The survey indicates that a staggering 80% of U.S. consumers this year have encountered or been subjected to various forms of holiday-related fraud. 

Here are some tips and pieces of advice to help protect you against fraud throughout the holidays.

  1. Make purchases exclusively from reputable merchants.

  2. Stay vigilant against common scamming tactics, share your awareness with others, and approach unsolicited calls, emails, and texts with skepticism, particularly those inducing a sense of urgency.

  3. Exercise caution with unexpected communications from financial institutions, unsolicited texts, and embedded links. Validate requests by directly contacting the entity through official channels.

  4. Practice secure online behavior, refraining from oversharing personal information on social media.

  5. Avoid feeling pressured to make quick purchases or service payments. Take the time to research and consult trusted individuals, as fraud often exploits a sense of scarcity or fear of missing out.

  6. Regularly monitor financial and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions, promptly reporting any discrepancies.

  7. Be wary of online deals that seem too good to be true, especially those offering luxury items or electronic devices at significantly reduced prices, as they may be counterfeit or never delivered.

  8. Refrain from disclosing personal or account information to unsolicited callers.

  9. Do not solely rely on caller ID, as criminals can manipulate their identities and locations during phone calls.

  10. Avoid making payments via gift cards or money transfer services, and never deposit a check and send money back to someone.

  11. Use a credit card for online purchases. As required by law, credit card companies provide a fraud liability guarantee which limits liability for unauthorized charges to $50 ($0 if the card was stolen and the card company is notified prior to purchases being made).

  12. Strengthen account security with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to deter unauthorized access.

  13. Deny permissions to unknown apps and use distinct passwords for each downloaded app.

  14. Verify the recipient's details when using money transfer services to ensure secure transactions.

By adopting these proactive measures, you can enjoy the holiday season with greater peace of mind, safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against potential fraud and scams.