11/25/2019 Cayla Hittmeier

Keeping an eye on your online shopping cart? Well, fraudsters are too. The holidays typically introduce fraud involving e-skimming, fake charities, porch pirates, false shipping notifications & payment fraud, and other scams. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and more–this time of the year typically brings frequent online and in-store purchases. This increase in purchases can leave you easily distracted and let your guard down. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams and trends:

  • E-skimming: Scammers can make it easy for a consumer to be re-directed to a malicious domain (website) where the skimming code can capture the customer's information from the checkout page. The skimming code captures your information in real-time and sends it to a remote server where the data is collected by the criminals behind-the-scene. Your credit card data would either be sold or used to make fraudulent purchases from that point going forward. Be vigilant in checking the website address, fraudulent sites often look very much like the well-known site, but with a slight difference that is tough to check. Perfect example,

  • Social media scams: With the recent addition of the ability to shop on social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, there is now a newer version of online shopping scams involving both. Criminals use the social media platforms to set up fake, online stores. By using social media to advertise the fake website; they’ll take the member’s payment, but your member will never see the goods. Best practice – don’t purchase instantly when you’re on the social media site, instead, visit the original website to make the purchase. This way you can double check that it’s a valid site.

  • Porch pirates: Year-round, but especially near the holidays, criminals steal packages from the doorstep/porch of unsuspecting homes, apartments, businesses, etc. If you don’t have a surveillance video system on your home, talk with neighbors about keeping an eye out for your house and you do the same for theirs. Remain vigilant. If you are the victim of a porch pirate theft, report it to the authorities.

  • Shipment update scams: Fraud can happen even after you’ve made a valid purchase. Fraudsters send a fake email notifying you of a delivery failure or the request for updated shipping information. The email may look like it’s coming from the original sender, but it contains a link with malware. Always hover over or click the email address to see if it is a legitimate email address before clicking links. Even better, call the customer service line of the company you ordered from before submitting any information.

  • Donation and fake charities: People love giving back this time of year and scammers know this. They also know many are looking for places to make end-of-the-year tax deductible donations. Similar to online scams, donation scams often try to replicate a charity website convincing you to donate money –which goes right to the criminal.



  1. Sign up for transaction alerts to monitor for unauthorized transactions on your credit cards and accounts.
  2. Pay attention to emails, links, and websites. Think before you click!
  3. Avoid entering card information on web forms (could be malware installed); instead, use your stored payment information when possible such as Amazon pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay or PayPal.
  4. Ensure home computers, laptops, and mobile devices are protected with antivirus, anti-spyware, and a firewall.
  5. Use well-known websites for online purchasing.
  6. Go directly to the website rather than through social media website advertisements.
  7. Be cautious for skimming or shimming devices when using ATMs or gas pumps. For gas pumps, try to use the pump closest to the entrance door as they are less likely to be a target for skimmers.
  8. Review and monitor your accounts daily and report any discrepancies immediately.