With all of the fun and frolic surrounding the Fourth of July, it’s easy to forget there can be a downside. Holidays are an especially active time for scammers, and “patriotic” scam attempts can strike in a variety of ways. They can target consumers through different methods of attack, like phishing emails or spam texts and they often include a variety of premises to lure you in.
Here are some of the more popular phishing attempts, scam tactics and frauds:
- Patriotic emails and social media posts – Phishing messages and fraudulent social media posts can tug at your heartstrings at any holiday, and Independence Day is no exception. In this case, it may be a more such as an active duty or veteran’s scam, political or election scam, or any other country-specific theme. Remember that wonderful charities and organizations doing great work all year long, so avoid the temptation to impulse-click on an untrustworthy source.
- Shopping – There are incredible retail deals advertised during the July 4th holiday, and that can also mean bogus web coupons and sales links to click. Protect yourself from online shopping scams by only doing business with trusted sources, using a secure payment method for your purchases and steering clear of “time is running out!” impulse shopping scams.
- Fireworks scams – If you live in a state that allows citizens to shoot their own fireworks, beware: roadside stands and temporary shops make sense when selling a product that is only popular a few times a year, but that also means you’re handing your payment information to someone who may be skipping town in a day or two. If feasible, cash may be the way to go, instead of giving a transient businessperson your payment information.
- Virus attacks and tech support scams – In years past, there have been reports of malicious software attacking on or around the Fourth of July, playing off of the theme of rebellion, overthrowing tyranny and more. Be very mindful both of genuine cyberattacks and fake ones that pretend to lock up your computer or inform you that you’re already infected. Beware of phony tech support scams too, trying to get your money and access to your computer in exchange for “cleaning” out a cyberthreat.
Remember, there are a variety of threats that can have a stronger impact on the holiday, both physically and from a data security standpoint. Be mindful of scams, fraud and be safe in whatever summer activities you choose to enjoy. And have a Happy Fourth!
Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.