How to protect yourself from holiday scams

 How to protect yourself from holiday scams

Oh, Christmas! Ah, the end of the year!

The streets are lit up, we decorate our house, the preparations for New Year’s Eve begin (maybe a little trip to rest, right?), and the planning for next year. 

However, unfortunately, one of the things that appear at this time often is the end-of-the-year scams.

So it is!

You may have already seen the news about them in the news, which is why we made this article: to help you protect yourself from scams and fraud and, with that, end the year well.

Follow until the end and share to protect your friends too.

Knowledge is the main defense against scammers. 

What are the main scams and how to avoid them?

Some time ago we wrote an article about Black Friday scams.

Many of them are also used at Christmas, so it’s also worth checking out. 

Now we expand the list a little more so that you have the antennas always on.

Super discount scam

It looks like magic.

You open your phone and there is the product you wanted so much (you even stopped buying it on Black Friday because the conditions weren’t so attractive) and the price is much, much lower than average.

How to avoid: be suspicious!

Distrust is a rule that protects you from numerous scams.

In this specific case, the very low price scam, pay attention to some practices:

  • if it is an online purchase, please confirm that you are on the official website; if necessary, call and ask the shopkeeper why the price is lower if it is a special promotion;
  • if the product is perishable (there are a lot of promotions for end-of-the-year dinners out there), find out about the product’s expiration date; and
  • remember that magic to lower the price does not exist. Many scammers, however, take advantage of people’s good faith to lure customers to their sites with misleading advertisements. 

False benefit scam

With the pandemic and the entry of emergency aid or allowances, many scammers took advantage of the existence of these benefits and harmed thousands of people.

Usually, the action of the scam happens through social networks, with ads for fake websites, fraudulent emails, and SMS, as well as messages widely shared on WhatsApp.  

How to avoid it: if you receive a message about a benefit of this type with a link, don’t click! Use the official channels of the government and Caixa Econômica Federal to check if you are entitled to the benefit.

Hit do PIX

This one is very modern, after all, PIX (which is safe) arrived recently to facilitate financial transactions, but it activated the creativity of scammers (don’t you know what PIX is ?).

The main forms of this scam are these:

  • WhatsApp cloning scam

First, criminals clone your mobile number and WhatsApp.

They do this by sending you a message, pretending to be employees of a company you already have an account with.

They ask for a verification code which you receive via SMS.

If you pass this code (which must never be informed), your number is cloned.

Then scammers send messages to your entire network as if they were you, asking to borrow money from your friends and acquaintances.

How? Via PIX.

To avoid: in addition to never passing any code or password in a message, enable 2-Step Verification in your WhatsApp application (go to Settings / Settings > Account > 2-Step Verification).

  • Scam with Social Engineering 

Social engineering is a technique used by criminals to get people to pass on their sensitive data. They do this in several ways: sending emails and messages with promotions or prizes; simulating the design of emails and advertisements from trusted companies; “losing” pen drives infected with viruses out there so that the unsuspecting can use them on their computers; meeting, communicating and nurturing a false friendship with people through dating apps; and many other ways.

With your details, they can impersonate you to ask PIX for money.

Approaching the most unsuspecting, they end up convincing these people to make deposits in good faith to fake accounts.

To avoid: use good antivirus on your computer, check the source of messages you receive, and never (ever) pass personal information to people you don’t know and truly trust. Remember mistrust, to avoid blows is your ally.

  • solidarity coup

It happens all year round, but around Christmas and New Year’s it’s that unknown phone call or fake message asking for donations to social institutions.

The talk to convince people to donate is very well thought out and, with the goodwill to help, we run the risk of making a “donation to criminals” via PIX.

To avoid: ask the fake employee which institution he represents.

If it’s an institution you know, say you’ll get in touch with the institution later. Look for the institution and check if it is a serious and duly registered body.

  • Hit do bug no PIX

In this scam, people receive false messages about failures in financial institutions and in the PIX itself, communicating that if the person makes a transfer, he will receive double the amount in his account.

People click on the links in the fake messages and the money goes straight to the fraudster’s account.

There are also cases in which the cell phone is cloned and the scammers themselves empty the victims’ accounts.

To avoid: there is no such thing as free money. Always be suspicious. Check if the message you receive is from an official channel. Never click on links sent by profiles and numbers you don’t know.

credit card scam

Criminals contact victims posing as employees of financial institutions informing them that they will send an employee to the residence to collect their credit cards for verification or that the card has been closed.

Contact is made over the phone and is so sophisticated that scammers even use the official songs from the real companies’ telephone exchanges to make it as realistic as possible. 

How to avoid: when you receive a call, do not give your details, immediately contact your bank manager and your credit card company through official channels.

Once the fraud is confirmed, block the contact and report it. 

loan scam

At this time it is very common for people to ask for a Maturity loan to negotiate debts and start the year with the bills up to date.

Fraudsters often create fake websites, send proposals via SMS and WhatsApp without you having requested services, etc. 

In general, scammers act in these ways:

  • They ask for payment of amounts in advance of the amount referring to the IOF.
  • They offer tempting, unrealistic conditions for negative consumers.
  • They use the loan scam on INSS retirement.

How to avoid: search for registration information of the company that makes the loan, always check the security of the site, consult partner banks, never make advance payments, access the loan agreement, and evaluate the amount of the installment. This topic is so important that we made a special article about them.

How do report hits?

To report scams, it is essential to have as much evidence as possible.

Here is a list of those first steps:

  • Keep all receipts;
  • Take screenshots of as many screens as you can (WhatsApp conversations, social media pages, etc.);
  • Write down the information you received from the criminals (phone, email, name, company name, etc.);

With this in hand, activate the PROCON (Consumer Protection and Defense Program) to formalize the complaint.

You can do this by calling 151 or accessing the remote complaints channel here.

Also activate the SSP (State Security Department) Dial Denunciation service by calling 181 or through your state’s SSP website, where you can also file the Occurrence Bulletin if you have been a victim of scams.

The end of the year is a time of celebration and planning.

Keep attention to ensure your safety and peace of mind. 

Get a loan from a reputable company.

If you need extra money for Christmas shopping or to start the year with organized accounts, count on Empréstimo Sim, a fintech from Grupo Santander.

With Sim you make your loan quickly and simply, all 100% digital and, above all, with total security and the best rates on the market.

Make a free simulation and come to Yes!

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