The cold front is coming in hot, and so are scam calls. Not everyone is wishing you a Happy Holidays. Some may want your holiday cheer for themselves! With our Holiday Scam Call Trends Report, we’re letting it snow with the latest tactics and some ways to give these scammers the cold shoulder.
A Blizzard of Scam Calls
So far, we’ve seen Medicare-related calls dominate the fall and early winter seasons, landing it in the top common scam spot.
Impersonators of these healthcare companies will sound as professional and authentic as actual advisors, which makes it difficult to differentiate between them. However, scammers are simply trying to push their targets to rush into an application and make a quick decision.
“Hello. This is Christine with Senior Aide Helper. I am a Medicare advisor on a recorded line. Can you hear me? Okay. I’m with Senior Aide Helper regarding insurance. And my callback number is…”
Ho-Ho-Housing Scam Calls
Housing scams have grown more than 100% in the last month. Yikes!
With the housing market going downhill, people are looking for options to rent or buy.
Most of these scams are looking for a quick cash grab by targeting those who need home improvements (i.e., burst pipes) or are searching for rent-to-own homes.
“Hi, this is Daniel. I’m a homeowners associate with Consumer Council on a recorded line in regard to making improvements within your home. How are you today? I am with Consumer Council. My callback number is…”
Some scams we’ve noticed making waves recently:
- IRS scams for back taxes are back in the Top 10
- Medical alert-related scams are growing
No Scams for the Holidays
As we hit the end of the year, consumers can expect more and more phone calls from bad actors. Scammers continue to target unknowing consumers and push their tactics, especially around the holidays.
Here are some common holiday scams you should look out for this season:
Seasonal or holiday jobs
When looking for a job, sometimes you have to jump through hoops to get something. Anything. Scammers know and will take advantage of your desperation by making you pay to apply. You should never have to pay to work somewhere. Here’s how to avoid holiday job scams:
- Personal info should NEVER be offered upfront. A legitimate job would not immediately ask for your bank account, payment card, or social security number.
- Using the rule of three can be helpful: 1) ask others, 2) do your research, and 3) search online for the company. Be sure to look these companies up with their reviews or use “scam” when searching online to see if anyone else has been suspicious of the job.
The holidays are a busy time for charities. Charity impersonators know this and often ask for wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or the (always annoying) gift card transactions. Charities will never ask you to pay them through a gift card or any other unusual payment method. Always make sure you donate wisely!
Retail delivery or payment requests
Shopping during the holiday season can prove difficult when “patiently” waiting for your packages to come in. Scammers know you’re waiting for something special, so they’ll try creating an obstacle – such as a callback opportunity to access your delivery information or dispute “additional charges” – before your gifts make it to their destination.
It’s the season of giving, but don’t give too much! Especially to those willing to take advantage. Prevent those grinchy scammers from stealing your information, money, and even your holiday spirit! If you think you’re being scammed or have been a victim of scams, make sure to report any findings to the FTC!
Happy Holidays from First Orion!