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Fraud & Scams During Pandemic and Holidays

Excerpted from article by Cuna Mutual Group, 11/17/2020

As the holidays approach, e-commerce merchants are preparing for a continued increase in online sales as a result of store closures and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members should be aware of scams that target the convenience of online shopping such as fake or spoofed web sites and pop ups, e-skimming, porch pirates, or impersonations for your curb-side pick-ups. 

Here are a few common scams to be aware of over the holidays, especially during the pandemic:

  • E-skimming: Scammers exploit weak links on an e-commerce platform. In many cases, a consumer can be re-directed to a malicious domain where the skimming code can capture the customer's information from the checkout page. The skimming code would capture your member’s information in real-time and send it to a remote server where the data is collected by the criminals behind the scene. Your credit card data may be sold or used to make fraudulent purchases from that point forward.
  • Social media scams: Online shopping scams often involve the use of social media platforms to set up fake, online stores. By using social media to advertise the fake website, fraudsters take your payment, but you will never see the goods.
  • Porch pirates: Especially near the holidays, criminals steal packages from the doorstep or front porch of unsuspecting homes, apartments, businesses, etc.
  • Shipment update scams: Fraudsters send a fake email notifying you of a delivery failure or the request for updated shipping information. The email looks like it is coming from the original sender, but it contains a link with malware.
  • Donation and fake charities: People love giving back this time of year and scammers know this. Donation scams often try to replicate a charity website convincing you to donate money, which goes right to the criminal.
  • Gift card scams: Purchase gift cards only from trusted sources.

As you put together lists of gifts and purchases for the upcoming holidays, it can be easy to let your guard down. Make sure you are aware of the latest fraud and scams targeting shoppers during this holiday season.