‘Tis the season for holiday scams

Mysterious male santa hacker holding laptop computer, anonymous man on black background, ransomware cyber attack and internet security on Christmas holiday concepts

An informational release provided by Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, on Nov. 22 warns of a number of financial scams targeting holiday shoppers.

“In the midst of all the holiday excitement, it is important to be aware of the potential for scams, said Rosenblum. By staying informed, you can ensure a safe and successful experience during these popular shopping days.”

Also included was a list of several types of commonly conducted scams, how they work as well as how to avoid them.

•Websites requiring you to download an app

Imagine you’re about to make an online purchase on a website with an amazing deal. Suddenly, it turns out that the only way to grab this exclusive offer is by making a purchase through the company’s app.

While some legitimate online companies might offer exclusive deals for mobile app users, you need to be cautious before downloading any new apps. If you are shopping on a website that you’re unfamiliar with and the company asks you to download its app to complete the transaction – don’t. You’re most likely being tricked into downloading a fraudulent app designed to steal your payment information.

•Free Gift Cards

Another common scam involves anotification that you won a gift card from a big retailer like Amazon or Walmart. According to the notification, all you need to do to claim the gift card is text back a random code or click a URL.

This is how scammers can collect your details and infect your device with malware. The scam might then be sent to all the contacts in your address book. To stay safe, avoid clicking any suspicious links and do not interact with the notifications.

•Hot Deal Scam

If a deal seems too good to be tru it probably is. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t. And surprise, surprise, the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared along with your payment and shipping information.

•Fake Order Scam

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks inthe book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a “problem” with your online order.

They want you to click the link in the phishing email, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds.

These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them.

•Phony Tracking Number Scam

Phishing attacks go a step further in thisscheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.

•Bogus Website Scam

Cybercriminals are setting up imitationwebsites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap.

If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.

If you have fallen victim, report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.