Isabelle Lord | Journaliste
With the holidays in full swing, many of us are in a giving mood and are focused on getting all our shopping done in time. And it can be easy to let our guard down. But that's when we need to be most vigilant, because this is the busiest time of year for fraud artists.
To keep you from being a scam victim, Stéphanie Gohier-Coulombe, a fraud prevention expert at Desjardins, gives you her list of the top 5 holiday scams:
1. Order confirmation email
Nothing unusual about receiving order confirmation emails, right? And if you've placed any recent orders, you'll want to make sure they're received by December 25! "Fraudsters feed on that sense of urgency by sending fake emails asking you to click to confirm your order. Before you do and provide valuable information, you have to ask yourself if it's the right company that's contacting you."
2. Call from a financial institution
With more card transactions being made, financial institutions do more checks during the holiday season. Scammers will take advantage of that fact and try to steal your personal information by saying they want to confirm a recent purchase. "Financial institutions contact their clients to confirm account transactions. They don't need to confirm your identity to do that. After all, they're the ones calling you!"
Now that e-cards have replaced the traditional--and harmless--holiday greetings, "scareware" can be only a mouse click away! The goal is to get your personal information and take control of your device. How to avoid it? Gohier-Coulombe says to verify the source. "Do you know this person? Is it written in your language?"
4. Holiday apps
Scareware can be lurking in all kinds of apps. Before downloading a holiday game or the top 100 holiday hits, always read users' comments and check the access permissions. Does the app really need to access your contacts?
5. Charitable donations
Fraud artists will take advantage of your increased generosity at this festive time of year. "Before making a donation, check if it's a legitimate charity. I'm sure there are enough people on your gift list--you don't need to add any scammers!" says Gohier-Coulombe.