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Holiday Scams

Scam Alert
Scams can happen to anyone, at any time, and especially during the holidays. Criminals and scammers target consumers through phone calls, text messages, emails and social media messages designed to appear legitimate, but their only purpose is to steal your identity and your money!

Beware of these common scams:
  • Imposter Scams (Phishing) – someone pretending to be from your financial institution or a government agency (IRS, FBI, SSA) attempting to trick you into providing your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, bank account and passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Online Romance – a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain your affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from you.
  • Lottery/Sweepstakes Winnings – a communication is received stating you’ve won a large sum of money. To claim the prize, the scammer advises that you must pay taxes, processing fees or transfer fees. The prize doesn’t actually exist.
  • Tech Support – someone pretending to be a computer technician from a well-known company contacts you claiming there is a security issue (a virus) with your computer. They ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then pretend to run a diagnostic test. Then they try to make you pay to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Tips to protect yourself from fraud scams:
  • Treat all unexpected calls, emails, and text messages with caution.
  • Don’t transfer money or provide personal information to someone you don’t know via a phone call, text, email, or pop-up message.
  • Don’t send money to strangers online.
  • Be mindful not to provide access to your computer by downloading software or an app from an unverified source. Scammers may be able to view, take control of your device and access your bank account.
  • Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them. If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

If you spot a scam, please report it to the government using the following resources:
Federal Trade Commission – call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or go online:
Federal Bureau of Investigation – go online to Internet Crime Complaint Center:
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft of any kind, it’s important to act immediately. Don’t delay. Contact one of the three credit bureaus – right away. Tell them you need to place a fraud alert.

For additional information on ways to protect yourself from cybercrime, visit our Kinecta Security Center.