Popular Holiday Scams

5 popular holiday scams, how to shop safely online, and a new ‘wrong number’ telephone scam: Internet ScamBusters #105

Today we have a Snippets issue for you. You’ll find: 5 popular holiday scams, how to shop safely online, and a new ‘wrong number’ telephone scam.

First, quite a few subscribers emailed to let us know that they have been using SpoofStick with Firefox, and it has been working well for them.

Second, one subscriber shared this simple rule about phishing scams: “If you don’t have an account with the company, it’s phishing.”

OK. Let’s get going…

Holiday Scams

BankRate.com has a good list of 5 popular holiday scams. They are:

– Name a star

– Fake charities

– Spam solicitations

– eBay scams

– High pressure sales

To read about the first 5 popular scams and get more info, visit:

==} http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20041130a1.asp

We’ve added two more popular holiday scams to the list:

– Congratulations, Your Name! You have won a free island getaway!

Scammers often will offer you something appealing to get you to visit their website. Right now, the most popular offers are for a free travel vacation.

Since many people want to get away for the holidays, these scams unfortunately often do succeed.

Here’s how it works: You receive an email with a headline similar to the one above. If you click on the link in the email, you will be asked to enter your name and email address (and sometimes home address) for verification purposes.

If you do this, you will find that you have to complete some outrageous task in order to get the free holiday vacation. After reading the fine print, you might discover that it is not possible to get the vacation!

The goal of this scam is to secure your personal information, which the company sending the email can then sell to other companies wishing to send you spam.

Action: Never respond to bulk email solicitations.

– Get your instantly approved credit card just in time for the holidays!

Many credit card companies see the holidays as a prime time of year to get new customers.

The less ethical companies rely on impulse clicking. Most of these offers are for so-called “online shopping credit cards.” These cards will usually have a high credit limit, but can only be used to shop at specific stores online, with limited products to purchase.

Almost all of these cards have high membership fees, even if you never use the card. They also have extremely high interest rates, although they do sometimes have an initial low introductory rate.

Action: Don’t accept these offers. If you are in the market for a credit card to use for the holidays, apply with a respected merchant.

Safe Online Holiday Shopping

A few years ago, we wrote an article called ‘8 tips for shopping safely online during the holiday season.’ All 8 tips are just as useful today as they were then.  If you missed it, we recommend you check it out now.

This is also a good time of year to review our 21 tips to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

‘Wrong Number’ Telephone Scam

This is a new ‘pump and dump’ telephone scam. Here’s how it works:

The caller leaves a message on your home answering machine saying that the price of a small, very thinly traded stock is going to go through the roof very soon.

The caller is usually a woman, who sounds as if she is trying to call a friend to leave the ‘insider info,’ but misdialed.

The scammer makes money when the people she left messages for buy the stock, driving the price up. The scammer then, of course, sells their shares, leaving the victims with losses.

Action: Never buy stock based on anonymous tips on your answering machine.

That’s it for today. We hope you have a great — and safe — week.