Be Careful of Holiday Robberies and Scams

News websites such as News 4 in Jacksonville, FL have been reporting on the rise of stolen packages.

As we have now entered into the holiday season, I’m reminded of how this is the time of year that we all should be extra careful about how we go about our business. For some people, this is the worst and most desperate time of year. Couple that with the fact that many people are shopping either in-person or online for their loved ones and you have a recipe for all sorts of fraud, scams, and theft. Even though I know that you likely aware of this, I thought it would be good to at least put some friendly reminders out there from one gamer to another.

If you go into a store and make a big purchase, be aware of your surroundings. Many people will be purchasing a new Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X for themselves or the loved ones in their lives. As you exit the store and return to your car, take notice of your surroundings and pay attention to your environment. You never know who may be watching you. So be careful and alert.

Next, if you are using a credit card for your purchase, make sure that you keep it out of the view of others. Some people can get all of the information on your card just with a quick glance. On top of that, you never know if someone behind you or just a few feet from you could be using their cellphones and zooming in within the picture mode to capture your info. Do not have your card out any longer than you need to.

Always make sure “https” is in the address bar when you shop online instead of “http.”

Continuing on the topic of credit cards, be careful as you shop online. Make sure that the address in your address bar begins with “https” instead of just “http.” The “s” in the address means that the website is secure. Many websites like to make purchases convenient for you by saving your credit card information in their database for your account. I would not recommend this practice. If a hacker can break into the website, then he/she will be able to potentially obtain all of the information associated with the site. That would include your credit card information. So be willing to suffer the inconvenience of having the enter your card information each time you make a purchase. An even safer way of avoiding credit card fraud is to purchase a Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, or Steam pre-paid card from a store and using that for online purchases instead.

The month of December typically features an elevated frequency of package related thefts. A lot of people are ordering online and will have packages delivered to their front door. Thieves will be prowling neighborhoods looking for opportunities. They may study the habits of residents in the neighborhood and look to see if they are home when their packages arrive. If you do order something online, I would advise that either you or somebody you trust is home to receive the package. The moment you receive an email that the package has been shipped, track it to know where it is while it is en route to your home. You can also sign up for an alert that will send a message to your phone when it arrives on your doorstep. That way you will know exactly when it has been delivered and to retrieve it right away. Another option to help protect your package is to request that a signature has to be made to receive the package.

Scalping has been a huge issue as consumers look to buy the new gaming consoles at a decent price.

Lastly, the phrase “Playstation 5 Scalpers'” has been very prevalent in the gaming community as of late. These are sellers who have utilized devices such as online bots to acquire a large stock of PS5 consoles and then are selling them for a much higher price than the original cost. Because of the relevance of the new system, the scalpers are making substantial profits. But remember this. The scalpers are only able to take advantage of desperate people who can not wait until the system is restocked in regular stores. I understand the hype and excitement surrounding the PS5. But be patient. That is the best way to not be taken advantage of. And remember, new games are still being made for the PS4 and Xbox One.

My goal with this post isn’t to cause paranoia but to remind everyone to exercise caution during this season. Earlier in the year, I was robbed of a gift card for my birthday because I did not check my mailbox the day it arrived. That incident woke me up to the fact that I need to be mindful of when mail and other packages arrive at my home.

Feel free to use the comments section to share other tips that would be good for us as gamers to watch out for this holiday season. Take care and be careful out there.


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