Did you know that crooks and identity thieves also celebrate the holidays? It’s one of their most favorite times of the year. The creativity of criminals never ceases to amaze me. Here’s a new one:
Criminals are now delivering flowers and wine to people’s homes saying that the card with the sender’s information will be arriving the next day. Of course, you have to sign for the package, but the courier then tells you that he must collect a very small ($3.50) fee from you for delivering alcohol and to certify that the alcohol wasn’t delivered to a minor. Since he isn’t allowed to accept cash, and since only adults carry credit cards, he whips out a small portable credit card machine and allows you to swipe your debit or credit card and enter your PIN. He prints out a small receipt and is on his way … to draining your bank or running up your credit card. There never was a sender, and you’re PIN and credit card information is how in the hands of a crook!
Lesson: NEVER give your credit card to ANYONE unless you initiate the transaction. That includes phone conversations, internet contacts, or even a local delivery driver!
With the increase in online ordering of Christmas gifts, spammers and those promoting viruses and malware are sending out emails with “Your Online Order Status” in the subject line. The email then tells you to click a link to check your order status but the link installs a virus that searches your computer’s files for credit card or other personal information. It then may scour your email address book to find more victims.
Lesson: NEVER click a link in an email unless you’re 100% SURE who sent it to you and that they had a good reason for doing so. Always check your online order’s status by going to the website directly, logging in, then checking an order’s status.
Be on the watch for these two scams and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season without identity theft!