Durga Puja and Navratri are festivals celebrated with immense enthusiasm and fervour by millions of people across India and beyond. These festivities bring families and communities together, but they also attract the attention of online scammers looking to exploit the festive spirit for their own gain. So it is essential to be aware of the various online scams that may surface and take proactive steps to ensure your online safety.
There are some popular scams that occur during such a time period. One of those is a fake donation scam. Scammers often create fake charity websites and social media accounts, presenting them as platforms for donations to various causes related to the festivals. They exploit the benevolent nature of individuals during these times. To safeguard, people should exercise caution and only contribute to well-known and established organizations. They can verify the authenticity of any charity or donation request by checking for official registration details.
Secondly, people should be wary of unsolicited emails offering exclusive festival deals, discounts, or contest invitations. These emails may contain links or attachments that could lead to phishing websites or deliver malware. Before clicking on these emails or downloading any such attachments, people need to check the source of the email. A good practice is to hover over the links to preview their destinations without actually clicking on them.
Festive shoppers are often on the lookout for attractive deals, and scammers take advantage of this by setting up fraudulent e-commerce websites. These websites mimic genuine online stores, but are designed to deceive unsuspecting customers. Before making any online purchases, people need to make sure that the website is legitimate and secure. In this case, going through the customer reviews, or social media posts about the website may help to know whether people should purchase from the platform or not.
Scammers create fake profiles and pages on social media platforms, posing as legitimate organisations or individuals to promote fake contests, giveaways, or events related to the festivals. It is essential to be cautious when sharing personal information or clicking on suspicious links. People should verify the authenticity of the social media accounts and the legitimacy of the offers by checking for official verification badges, scrutinising their posts, and consulting reliable sources.
As the festivals involve various technical aspects such as ticket bookings, streaming events, and online shopping, scammers may impersonate tech support agents. They can call or send pop-up messages claiming to provide assistance. However, it should be noted that without confirming the legitimacy of the support service, people should not share their personal information or grant remote access to their devices. There is always an option to reach out to the official support channels of the service provider if someone needs assistance.
Emails or messages asking for payments or personal information in exchange for festival-themed digital gift cards or vouchers should be viewed with scepticism. Legitimate gift cards are typically sold by reputable retailers and not distributed through unsolicited messages. Avoid sharing sensitive information and verify the authenticity of the offer by independently confirming it with the retailer.
In many cases, scammers employ emotional manipulation tactics during the festivals, posing as friends or family members who claim to be in urgent need of money for festival-related emergencies. It is ideal to verify the identity of the person through a separate, trusted channel, like a phone call or a message to their known contact, before sending money. The tactic is not to rush to make payments based solely on the urgency of the request.
Also, to enjoy the holiday season safely, cyber experts advise people to be careful while using public Wi-Fi networks. Because scammers can easily hack into public Wi-Fi networks to steal personal information.