Holidays result in millions of fraud and scam victims worldwide each year. People get so into the holiday spirit that they put their guard down and become more vulnerable to fraud. Why? Because we all feel like being kinder, sharing more, being more trustful, etc. Being focused on these goals and our families makes people more vulnerable than ever; there is no time to think about the risks involved. Although online romance scams and internet fraud is an ongoing activity throughout the year, many of the scammers have been preparing for months for these dates to target victims.
Nobody wants to be the grinch
If someone you met online told you they were going through hardship during Christmas time, you would most likely want to help. If you were looking for the right time to meet your online girlfriend, what better time could there be! People are more sensitive during this time of the year, so wanting to help or finally meet a loved one in person seems like a good idea. The problem is that those who fall victim did not realize there were many risks involved.
International private investigation companies have been alerting people to be extra vigilant when this time of the year comes, as victims are more vulnerable and scammers are more aggressive with their techniques. Anyone can be a victim of fraud, and the risk is higher in the holidays.
What to watch out for?
Any money request is a major red flag. Regardless of the claimed use for the funds, money requests are sufficient enough to make anyone stop right there and verify. Romance scammers will justify their request with many different excuses, like getting a passport or visa, buying a flight ticket, paying hospital fees, etc. The options are endless. Victims can be contacted via phone or email and claim to be from a charity or well-known local agency. The important thing is that if you have not met the subject in person, you need to start by verifying they are in fact legitimate and trustworthy. A professional background check investigation will help you avoid putting yourself at risk. Expert investigators say to stay skeptical and always verify any person or company you’ve never dealt with or met in person. Watch out for red flags, and contact an investigator when you need clear evidence.
Watch out for Facebook friend requests from strangers. If you do not know someone, don’t let them in your personal life, even if it’s just “an online thing”. Facebook scams are thriving more than ever. Zuckerberg and company have made billions of dollars off of tracking your online activity, collecting and selling your private information, with or without your consent. Knowing the risk and posting less online goes a long way to keeping you safe. Scammers and online criminals will pretend to be interested in friendship and romance during the holidays and will exploit people’s susceptibility to loneliness. As much as it might seem a good idea to meet someone you can spend a special time with, don’t get too excited or share too much. You never know who is on the other side.
Skepticism in online relationships is a good attitude all-year round but especially during Christmas and New Year’s. Don’t let the scammers ruin your holidays, contact us for a free quote.
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