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Wealth Planning

Add fraud prevention to your holiday plans

Fraudsters will be out in force. Take these steps to keep criminals from spoiling your year-end celebrations.


It’s the holiday season, and you’re looking forward to vacation getaways, visits with loved ones, exchanging gifts and other festivities.

Just remember as you make your plans: Fraudsters (online and elsewhere) are waiting for you to drop your guard.

Indeed, fraud incident rates typically surge this time of year, and in 2022 they will crown a year of record fraud-related losses. Just with credit cards alone, researchers predict fraudsters will reap $5.72 billion from online, phone and mail-order transactions.1

These precautions can help you stay safe during the holidays—and beyond.

Watch out for holiday-season scams 

Don’t mistakenly transact with fraudsters this holiday season.

Fraudsters enjoyed a profitable 2021, scamming Americans out of $337.5 million with nonpayment/delivery ruses; $172.9 million via credit card frauds; and $98.7 million with bogus advanced fee demands.2

In addition, fraudsters scammed businesses out of $2.4 billion in revenues, typically using compromised email accounts to redirect legitimate payments to cybercriminals.3

To protect yourself:

Use trusted travel, reservation and vacation-home rental services—Validate payment instructions via a telephone number you know to confirm the identity/legitimacy of the party receiving your payment. Use the organization’s secured payment site or credit cards for added security.

Avoid using pre-paid gift cards to pay for holiday purchases—Fraudsters can drain funds from your card instead of filling your order. If you use a gift card, look for signs of tampering, such as damaged packaging or exposed PINs.

Make charitable donations to established organizations—Be wary of look-a-like sites. Validate the organization’s web address before sending donations, and confirm there’s a security padlock icon at the start of the URL.

Be alert to physical security threats

Most U.S. households now shop online, driving up the number of package thefts across the country: In 2021 alone, “porch pirates” stole an estimated 210 million packages—valued at more than $5.4 billion—from U.S. homes.4

And that’s not all: Thieves target packages stowed in vehicles. Some criminals also may attempt to steal them right out of your hands.

To protect yourself:

Redirect deliveries—Instruct vendors to deliver your purchases to their retail locations or to a secure locker/pickup site instead of to your home. Use delivery tracking to learn when a package is due to arrive.

Remember: Home security systems won’t prevent thieves stealing packages from your front porch.

Be alert to your surroundings and secure your vehicle—Park in brightly lit areas or ask store/mall security personnel to escort you to your vehicle. Ensure packages left in your car are hidden from view.

Be wary of social media

Last year, consumers reported nearly $770 million in fraud losses via social media, about one-fourth of all reported fraud losses for 2021 and an 18-fold increase from 2017.5

Fraudsters use social media to identify potential targets, therefore be extremely careful about what you publish online, and urge family members (especially young ones) to do the same.

To protect yourself:

Limit knowledge of your travel or stay-at-home plans—Don’t disclose your itinerary or “check in” to social media accounts during a trip or while celebrating at home. What you share on social media could lead criminals to your front door or make you a target for scams.

We can help

Just remember, fraudsters want to trick you into sharing your sensitive information—or worse, your bank accounts. Don’t let them ruin the fun this holiday season. Learn how to stay a step ahead of fraudsters. If you believe you or a family member is a victim of fraud, immediately contact your J.P. Morgan team. 

1.Insider Intelligence, “Total Card Fraud Losses Are Expected to Surpass $12 Billion in 2022 as Fraud Continues to Shift Online,” September 13, 2022.
2.The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Report 2021.
3.Ibid.
4.Finder.com, Porch pirate statistics.
5.The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Protection Data Spotlight.

 

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