Unfortunately, the holiday season not only brings out the good but also the bad in people as well. With Christmas just days away, a website has released a study on prolific internet scams in 2023 using data garnered from the FBI and FTC.

Americans set online shopping records on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, who projects $221 billion will be spent before month’s end. The website Social Catfish – a company combatting online scams using reverse search technology – released a study on the State of Internet Scams 2023 in lieu of the holidays.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles, ThinkStock
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles, ThinkStock

According to Social Catfish's findings, Americans lost a record $10.3 billion to online scams last year and Iowa ranked No. 35 in the nation with 2,959 victims losing $42 million. Scams have only grown more sophisticated in recent years, and Social Catfish has revealed the five for which you need to be on the lookout (as well as tips on how to avoid each one):

Avoid the "Sold Out Toy" Scam:

Scammers have their finger on the pulse and know which holiday toys are in demand. They know girls will be clamoring for Barbie and will offer these products at extremely low prices, even when they are sold out elsewhere.

How to Avoid: Google the retailer from which you're trying to purchase the toy and add "scam" to your search to see if anything pops up.

The "Secret Santa Scam:"

Scammers frequently use social media to set up online gift exchanges. Unfortunately, they rake in the cash and prizes without reciprocating, and this could cost you if you're not vigilante about what you're doing only.

How to Avoid: Perform a reverse search to verify the identity of the person you are gifting.

Grandparent AI Scams:

This scam is especially terrifying. I've seen it circulate on social media, and in one case, I actually sent it to my father to make sure he was aware of it. As holiday travel increases, scammers will use AI to "voice clone" a person based on their social media videos. Grandparents may get a call from "their grandchild" saying they are in danger and need money sent immediately. It is a scam. A particularly evil one at that.

How to Avoid: Consider establishing a safe word for your family if anyone is in trouble. Also important too is talking with your family, especially older members of your family, and making them aware of such scams.

Compromised Amazon or Bank Account Scams:

With transactions ramping up during the holidays, scammers send texts and emails claiming your Amazon or bank account has been compromised. They ask you to verify the account but steal your money instead.

How to Avoid: Do not respond to the message, and contact the business directly in order to do business and/or make them aware of the scam.

Avoid Fraudulent Websites:

Photo Credit: Artur, Digital Team
Photo Credit: Artur, Digital Team

Scammers create fake websites using familiar logos from well-known retailers. They appear legitimate, but any gifts purchased will never arrive and any personal information provided may lead to identity theft.

How to Avoid: Use Who.Is to see when the website was created. Beware of poor grammar, which often exists on these phony sites.

For more information on internet scams and how you can avoid them, visit Social Catfish's website to see the full study of internet scams in 2023.

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