Holiday Fraud Prevention & Current Scams

With the busy holiday shopping season upon us, don’t overlook simple fraud prevention tactics.

Be Aware of Surroundings When Using Your Card

Do you ever feel like you have someone looking over your shoulder? When you use the ATM or are using your debit or credit card to pay, make sure people aren’t watching. Whether it's the next person in line or the cashier. Cover the key pad when you type in your pin.

Look at the card reader before you swipe or insert your card. Make sure it doesn’t look like anything is strange or has been added to it. There are high tech card readers that can quickly scan your card and steal the information. It happened to my wife a couple years ago on a business trip to Miami. A sunglass vendor scanned her card and we had several charges show up on that card that we didn't make.

Review Your Credit or Debit Statements

Look at your card and bank statement every month. Make sure every charge on that statement is one you made. I like to write down what each charge was for next to the line item. If I see something I don't recognize, I ask my wife. Sometimes we have to call the credit card company and have them explain an unknown charge.

Online Shopping Fraud Prevention

Many of us prefer to do our holiday shopping online. It's quick and convenient. But you should still take precautions. Here are 4 quick tips for online shopping fraud prevention.

  1. Check the ratings and reviews of the sellers you’re purchasing from online.
  2. Save your online receipts or order confirmations to a PDF or print them out. Sometimes we get specialty gifts during the holidays from companies we don't normally purchase from.
  3. Keep a list of the sellers you use to track the charges made to your card.
  4. Be cautious of internet email offers and coupons. Sometimes it might be too good to be true.

Watch Out for These Current Scams

The following information was shared with us via CyberScout...

The CyberScout Resolution Support Team works with thousands of individuals annually. Fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated. We have outlined recent trends as of December 2019 that our fraud specialist identified.

  • DEA Scam Call – A person is posing as a DEA officer and claims they found a car in Texas with the customer's personal information. The person also indicates there are drugs, money laundering, and other crimes involved. They tell the customer they are going to be arrested unless the issue is cleared up. At that point, the fake DEA agent asks them to provide or verify their information.
  • Technical Support Scam – Customers are told they need technical support for their equipment. They are tricked into providing their banking information and online login account credentials. They trick customers to collect their PII.
    • Microsoft/Scam tech repair – The fraudster tells customers, "We are closing our business. We need to download different software and provide you a refund. We need access to your computer and your accounts to make the updates."
  • Arrest Money Scam – Customers are tricked into thinking they have committed a crime and will be arrested. The suspects talk the customer into sending multitudes of money (in various forms, gift cards, or directly from the bank accounts) to keep themselves from being arrested. We have had several customers fall victim and give fraudsters thousands of dollars.
  • Social Security Number Suspended Scam – Victims are notified that their Social Security Number has been suspended because their information was tied to a crime ring. Customers are told that they will be arrested if they do not cooperate and provide more personally identifiable information.
  • Bitcoin/Ransom scam – Customers are told their computer and everything on it is now accessible by the criminal. They are told they have access and will release personal erotic pictures/videos to friends/family and any contact emails unless the customer provides bitcoin.
  • Spoofing Scam – Customer receives a call that looks like it's from their financial institution on their caller ID advising of suspicious attempts to access their account to acquire personally identifiable information (PII) to take over their online account. Fraudsters are gaining access to customer's online accounts and transferring money by Zelle.

Get Identity Theft Protection

We at Bruce Gardner Insurance Agency offer options for identity theft protection services for homeowners, mobile homeowners, and farm policyholders through FraudScout powered by CyberScout. Check out for more details and pricing.

Don't be in such a rush this holiday season that you forget to protect yourself from fraud.

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