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Top 3 Holiday Scams and Protecting Your Wallet


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ah yes, the holidays are here! It’s also a time when scrooges (scammers) take advantage of the busy shopping season to try to break your holiday spirit (and wallet). At Rock Valley Credit Union (RVCU), our elves work hard for our members and have put together a list of the top three holiday scams and what to do to protect yourself. This holiday season, let RVCU bring tidings of comfort and joy.  

Scam #1 Package Delivery Scam
You’ll likely be making countless online purchases in the next few weeks. Scrooges know that more people are ordering things online during the holidays and take advantage of it with this scam. Package delivery scams can happen through text or email, and include a message about tracking a package, confirming a package, or an issue with a package being sent. The message usually includes a link or a phone number, both of which are fake. Clicking on the link is a way for scammers to infect a victim’s phone or computer with malware. Calling the number will put the victim in touch with a “customer service rep” who will get personal information out of the victim through conversation. 

RVCU’s elves’ recommendation:
Keep track of packages through retailers’ apps and enable alerts. Use caution if you receive a text or email regarding a package.

Scam #2 Social Media Scams
Many businesses hold contests and special promotions during the holidays (we even have one of our own, check out our 5k for the holidays giveaway!). Scammers try to hold contests of their own for gift cards or prizes that seem too good to be true.  
Sometimes the fake contest will be shared by a friend, which helps make the contest seem real. The goal of this scam is to get the victim to provide personal information to enter the contest or infect a victim’s phone or computer with malware.

RVCU elves’ recommendation:
Be sure to check out the business’s social media profile to verify they are a legitimate business. Fake business profiles of legitimate businesses are often created by scammers. They will often use urgency in their messages to get people to act fast. Do not click on links or provide your personal information.  

Scam #3 Secret Shopper Scams
Santa baby can get expensive, so many people pick up an extra side hustle to help cover holiday expenses. Scammers post job ads seeking secret shoppers and will ask victims to purchase gift cards and send them the gift card number. 
Often, they will send the secret shoppers a check and instruct them to deposit it into their bank account. They will ask the secret shoppers to use some of the funds to buy the gift cards while keeping the remainder for themselves.  The check is fake and will be returned shortly after deposit, but the victim will have already sent the fraudster’s money via gift cards.

RVCU elves’ recommendation:
Anyone that asks you to deposit a check or purchase gift cards on their behalf is a red flag as bright as Rudolph’s nose! Research businesses in advance through the Better Business Bureau for legitimacy. 

Keep these tips in mind as you spread holiday cheer and check out our Security Center for additional resources. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season.