Fraudsters will use a variety of different ploys against not just you, the consumer, but also small businesses and financial institutions.

Here are a few scams to be on the watch for.

Bogus Invoices

Fraud invoices can look very real. DON’T FALL FOR IT AND DON’T OPEN ANY ATTACHMENTS. It only takes one click for a scammer to be able to download malware onto your device and steal your information. If you feel it necessary to reach out to the business, do not call or email the contact information in the email. Do your own research and find the contact information elsewhere.

Bogus Websites

Online shopping has become a very popular way to shop for the holidays. Don’t fall for the websites that offer something too good to be true. Check for spelling errors in the website address. Scammers can be very convincing, but you can catch it if you know where to look.

Charity Scams

The holiday season is a great time to donate, but are you sure you know where your money is going? Always research any charity before you donate and never give money by gift card, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer. Scammers will rush people into donating or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never paid and then asking for payment.

Emergency Scams

Scammers often take advantage of our willingness to help a family member or friend in crisis. Whether it is a serious accident or incarceration, they target people claiming to be a family member or friend who requires money to resolve the circumstance. Before sending any money, verify their story with other family and friends. CALL THEM DIRECTLY!! If they don’t want you to hang up or want you to pay in gift cards this should be a red flag.

Gift Card Scams

Anything that says “FREE” should be your first clue. Another clue would be someone asking for a payment by gift card. No legitimate business wants paid with a gift card.

Malware Email

DON’T CLICK!! It only takes one click for a scammer to be able to download malware onto your device and steal your information.

Package Delivery Scams

Delivery notifications can also be scammed. Texts, calls and emails can seem legitimate. These types of scams can even include a fake tracking link that will lead you to a website to enter personal information or it will download malware designed to access your phone or computer. Then the malware will start stealing your information without you ever knowing. It is always best to go to the site that you ordered from to track your order.

Prize Scam

There are 3 ways to tell is it is a prize scam. Real prizes are free so you shouldn’t have to pay any “processing fees”. Giving them more money shouldn’t increase your odds of winning. You should NEVER have to give your bank account or credit card number to claim any prize or sweepstakes.

Contest promoters have to tell you certain things. If they call you, the law says they have to tell you that entering is free, what the prizes are and their value, the odds of winning and how you’d redeem a prize.

Romance Scam

Scammers are good at what they do and they play on our emotions. They will claim to need money for emergencies, hospital bills or travel. They will plan to visit, but never will. Slow down, and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let them rush you. Scammers will try and get you to send money in a way that will be hard or even impossible for you to get back.