Holiday Fraud Prevention

Monday, December 18, 2023

With the holiday season upon us, it is crucial to remain vigilant against scams and fraud. Protect yourself and your loved ones this season by reviewing the fraud prevention tips below.

Fraud Trend Spotlight: Vishing And Smishing
Voice phishing, or vishing, is a tactic where criminals utilize phone calls to trick victims into providing personal or financial information by posing as their financial institution or other trusted organizations. The same idea goes for smishing, where messages are sent out as scam SMS texts or via various messaging apps, such as WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and others. In both instances, criminals will look to build a rapport with their victims to encourage or coerce them into sharing sensitive details.

Legitimate services like Voice Over IP (VoIP) may be used by criminals to conduct such schemes. The use of VoIP makes it easier for bad actors to create fake numbers that are nearly impossible to track. In some instances, services may have capabilities to allow actors to create numbers local to the victim’s location to make them look more realistic. Actors may also use a method known as Caller ID Spoofing to display a number or identity of an individual or organization that the user already knows and trusts.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, education is critical to prevention. Below are some recommendations to adopt to minimize the effect of social engineering and scams.

  • Stay alert when receiving texts or phone calls from random numbers.
  • Check phone numbers from the actual store, financial institution, or delivery website. In addition, verify a suspicious caller by hanging up and calling a number from the website of the supposed organization.
  • Do not click any links from texts you randomly receive.
  • Take any questions regarding orders or deliveries you conducted to the phone number from the company website or from the initial confirmation email the cardholder received after placing the order.
  • Never reveal one-time passcodes to anybody when no cardholder-initiated transactions or inquiries occur.
  • AI Voice creation has come a long way in the last year. If you receive a phone call from a family member who is in immediate danger and they are requesting a ransom or personal information, please attempt to call your family member or other individuals involved with this family member to be sure they are safe.
  • Urgent and Authoritative behavior are common fraud techniques used to make the victim fall into a state of fear or anxiety.

Additional Precautions During the Holiday Season Include:

  • Only use legitimate sites when shopping online (when an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.)
  • Cardholders should always use a secure network.
  • Be leery of skimmers (use Near Field Communication whenever possible.)
  • Limit what information you share online. Your security questions associated with your accounts can be guessed with personal clues shared by the consumer.
  • Always review and check your statements and credit reports.

Education can be the key to preventing fraud. Stay safe and enjoy your holiday season with peace of mind! 

*This article was published by FIS in December 2023.