Many con artists take advantage of the hectic holiday season. Regardless of how you celebrate, Attorney General John Kroger urges Oregonians to be alert for opportunistic scam artists. The Oregon Department of Justice has received complaints about some of the following holiday scams:
Delivery Confirmation Scams. Victims receive a very convincing email stating that a package could not be delivered and instructing the recipient to open and print an attached claim form. The attachment is actually malware—a virus that sends your personal information to identity thieves. DHL, UPS and other deliver services may send email notification that a package was not delivered, but rarely include attachments. Con artists also send malware that appears to be a holiday e-card.
Free iPad Pop-up Ads. Shoppers should be cautious of products, like iPads or gift cards, offered for free or at prices far below competitors. A recent scam using Facebook offered $1,000 gift cards to the first 20,000 people to complete a series of quizzes. Websites, quizzes and pop-up ads that offer free products are often created to steal credit card and personal information, by either installing malware or simply asking for it. Victims will not receive the product, but may have a few surprises “pop-up” on their credit card or bank account statement.
Lampooned Holiday Vacations. If you have ever tried booking a last minute getaway during peak travel times, you know availability can be sparse and prices expensive. Be wary of holiday rentals that seem too good to be true. Cyber-thieves post fake vacation rentals and ask for down payments by credit card or wire transfer—leaving would-be vacationers stranded with a different kind of memorable experience.
Whether you are braving holiday travel, looking for those last-minute deals online, or planning the perfect New Year’s getaway, Attorney General Kroger offers the following advice:
- Do not open suspicious email attachments. If you think it may be a legitimate delivery confirmation email but are unsure, call the delivery company or try to track the package on-line.
- Avoid the lure of pop-up ads and cheap vacation rentals. Never give personal information unless through a secure site.
- As always, be mindful of free wi-fi in places like hotels and airports. Thieves use unsecured networks to hack into your computer and steal information.
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software.
- If you suspect a virus or malware is lurking on your computer, stop shopping, banking, and other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
- Use your antivirus software to perform a scan and delete flagged items.
- For more on what to do in an e-mergency see: www.onguardonline.gov
Attorney General John Kroger and the Oregon Department of Justice are committed to protecting Oregon’s marketplace and keeping the Grinch from ruining your cheer. If you or someone you know has been scrooged, please call the Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.