It’s that time of year again – mulled wine, pine needles, cuddly sweaters, and maybe even some snow?! Businesses are taking a more laid-back approach as the festivities beckon, and people around the world are hoping that, despite the ongoing pandemic, the holiday this year will be an improvement from 2020.
As well as being a time of enjoyment, we all know that this time of year can cause quite a large dent in our wallets. Parties, family activities and gift-buying all add up – and then the shopping sales start again!
We’ve lined up a few ways in which you can make sure that this Christmas period is a care-free one:
🎁 Is it the genuine article?
While you’re going through your Christmas shopping list, you may see ads that offer expensive items for a much lower price. Make sure you triple-check the retailer’s credentials before you buy: If the price is too good to be true, it could be a scam – and either you’ll never see that item, or what you receive will be a cheap knock-off.
🎁 Shipping notifications
Having bought your Christmas gifts online, be aware of any shipping notifications you may receive that ask for addtional personal information or extra fees. Alerts like this could be an attempt to scam you. It’s also a good idea to make note of your tracking numbers when you make purchases – that way, you can see where in the process your package is, and you’ll be able to spot the scam straight away.
🎁 Email phishing
If you are in any doubt whatsoever about an e-mail you’ve received and think it might be a phishing attempt – whether it’s from a retailer, charity, or financial institution – mark it as spam or junk. It’s far better to take the time to call the customer service hotline from the official website to clarify an issue, rather than respond to e-mails with suspicious addresses.
You’re probably seeing lots of seasonal messages popping up on your social media feeds – but some of these “You’ve Won!” pop-ups want you to click on links that can then infect your device with malware. So if you didn’t consciously enter an official prize draw – don’t click! The same goes for “Free Gift Card’ offers in exchange for personal details – this is most likely another scam attempt on the unsuspecting Christmas shopper.
🎁 Charitable Donations
If you are donating to charities during this holiday season, make sure your money is going straight to the charity or person in question. There are many hoax requests for donations, so while giving generously is undoubtedly a lovely thing to do, research the charity, link, or ad before you hand over any financial details.
We’ve all grown up with the age-old adage ‘you learn from your mistakes’ – but hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid making any of these this festive season!