Avoid These Holiday Scams

November 24th, 2010

Are you ready for the holidays? They always seem to arrive so quickly. One minute we’re buying Halloween candy, and the next we’re wondering why we only have two shopping days left. For most people, it’s the busiest time of year.

There are so many things associated with the holidays. Family events, shopping, social gatherings and vicious scams perpetrated by heartless criminals. It’s tragic. Voracious predators recognize this season as a time of cheer and good will. And they’ll use every dirty trick at their disposal to take advantage of that.

Watch For Cyber Scams
Black Friday dominates the calendar as the busiest shopping day, but a new contender is vying for the crown. Cyber Monday is fast becoming king. Criminals have noticed.

This holiday season, be wary of online scams like “free” offers. iPads, gift cards, the hottest toys of the season. You name it and someone claims to be giving it away. Sure, you must provide credit card information first, but they promise not to use it. When you see these “opportunities” the phrase too good to be true may come to mind. Trust that instinct. Stay away from these phony freebies.

Don’t have time to send cards? No problem, e-cards are fast and easy. Just be careful where you get them. Scammers create their own e-cards these days, and pack them full of viruses. Go with trusted and reliable websites.

Scam artists know about your favorite shopping websites. They also know how to duplicate them. Watch out for forged sites, and scams like Tabnabbing. Avoid these online lookalikes that hope to steal your credit card number. Always enter the complete URL of every site you visit.

Feeling Charitable?
During the holidays, people tend to be more giving. We donate to charities, deposit money into buckets held by bell-ringers and become more likely to dole out spare change. Generosity is a noble trait, but one that is commonly exploited by thieves.

If you give a donation this holiday season, make sure it goes to the right place. Be wary of anyone who calls to ask for money. Watch out for people who come to your door requesting cash for a good cause. Want to help? Contact your favorite charity directly. Still in doubt? Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau.

Need Extra Cash?
It gets costly. With the holidays come gift giving, extra cooking and an array of additional expenses. You may need a second job to cover the costs.

Con artists leave no opportunity behind. How does working from home sound? Probably pretty good. That’s why criminals post “help-wanted” ads that claim to offer exactly what you want. All you have to do is pay a startup fee or provide personal information first. Do this, and you’re just helping criminals rip you off. Thousands of reputable companies hire holiday help. Stick with them when applying for part-time positions.

Help A Family Member
This scam most often preys on the elderly. Imagine this: you get a late-night call from a seldom seen relative, or perhaps the police. A member of your family is in trouble. Only you can help.

It’s going to cost you to get that family member out of their horrific jam. Just wire the money. Don’t ask questions. Trouble is, it’s a put-on. Scammers pretend to be family members or authority figures and demand payment. It’s another trick to separate you from your money.

Smishing
It may look like a fake word, but it’s a real threat. Scammers send victims text messages that seem to be from reputable businesses. Perhaps a bank or major department store. They are texting to notify you of a serious problem with your account. You must fix the issue immediately. To start, you’ll need to verify some personal information.

Don’t fall for this scam. You’ll be sending private details about yourself to criminals. Never respond to these texts. Real companies don’t send them.

Where Do You Shop?
Shoppers once swarmed malls and department stores for their holiday needs. Today, we have a plethora of resources. You may purchase items from major online retailers, look for bargains at coupon-based websites or buy directly from other consumers.

Before you purchase goods from an individual, verify the seller. If the site you’re using allows people to leave feedback, read it. Run a Comprehensive Background Check before sending money. Get all the facts you can and make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

Have A Scam-Free Holiday
So now are you ready for the season? Start by learning to avoid holiday scams. Remember that these tricks are very common during the holidays, but they’re around all year.

Have tips of your own? Then leave a comment to share your advice, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders people search blog.

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