Latest holiday scams: Phony ecards and sale emails

Holiday scams to avoid that may pass through unsuspected during the hectic season.

The holidays are a time for giving. But for fraudsters, they're also a time for taking. These tips can help you protect yourself and your valuable information from malware and scams that could otherwise fail to raise suspicion due to the hectic holiday season.

Since many of these scams are online, it's a good general policy to never give personal information like your Social Security number or banking details over email, beware of "deals" requiring immediate action, and don't agree to a wire transfer to claim any kind of deal.

When shopping online

  • Always look for "https" in the URL. The "S" means the site is safer and more secure for sharing important personal information.
  • Don't make purchases using a public wi-fi connection.
  • Avoid using a debit card for online purchases. Credit card charges can be disputed, but debit accounts may not be reimbursed if the card number falls into the wrong hands.

Holiday season email

  • Don't open any emails from an unnamed recipient, such as holiday e-cards—they likely contain malware. But you should also be cautious when opening holiday greetings from friends and family — their email addresses could have been hacked. How do you know what's safe? Look for a confirmation code to open the e-card at the issuing website.
  • With "sale" emails, those unbelievable prices could very well be too good to be true. The email links could direct you to a phishing site that steals your payment information. Search for and then visit the online retailer to verify that the store and the advertised prices are legitimate.

End-of-year mail

  • The final months of the year fill mailboxes with a deluge of donation appeals from charities. Before writing a check, make sure you're supporting a legitimate cause. Research the soliciting organization on a reputable directory, such as Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Beware of emails that claim a package delivery failed, or ones asking recipients to confirm an order or a shipment.

In the store

  • Before purchasing gift cards, check the back to make sure the activation code area hasn't been compromised.
  • Keep a close eye on your money and watch for mall pickpockets, credit card, skimmers and dishonest cashiers.

While traveling

  • Many Internet scammers target holiday travelers at Wi-Fi hotspots, with emails promising "free" trips and more. Learn to recognize and protect yourself from these types of travel scams.
  • Beware of winning trips in giveaways you never entered. It could well be an attempt to get your credit card number under the guise of securing a room, or to cover other fees, or a way to make you buy other pricey parts of the travel package.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.

Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

Simple Holiday Safety Tips

Simple Holiday Safety Tips

Safety tips to keep your decorating, cooking and gathering safe during the holidays.

About Next Door®

About Next Door®

Read how Financial Coaches at Next Door offer tools to make their community more fiscally fit.

Related Articles

Tips on How to Deep Fry a Turkey Safely

Tips on How to Deep Fry a Turkey Safely

Tips for cooking with a fryer without causing a dangerous fire this Thanksgiving.

For Black Friday, Take This Shopping Safety List Along

For Black Friday, Take This Shopping Safety List Along

Avoid accidents, theft, and overspending by taking this list and checking it twice.

Internet Safety for Teens

Internet Safety for Teens

Between identity theft and cyberbullying, steer your teen away from Internet dangers with this guide to online safety.