request info email to friend
Avoid Holiday Scammers
During the holiday season, many people are feeling happy and generous – and also rushed and distracted. That can make them prime targets for scammers. The Better Business Bureau lists common scams that appear around the holidays:
Look-alike websites. Scammers can email you a link to a website that mimics the look of a popular shopping site. Look carefully at the URL. If you are not sure, you can search for the site you want, and see if the URL is the same as the site you got in your email. It also is suspicious if there are spelling or grammar errors on the site. Finally, never enter information like your credit card unless the URL starts with https instead of http.
Social media gift exchanges offer to send a gift to your friends if you buy something. This is simply a pyramid scheme. Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The grandparent scheme. Scammers do this year-round, but it is particularly popular during the holidays. You get a call from someone saying they are your grandchild or a friend of your grandchild, and they need you to wire money. Don’t.
Fake temporary jobs. Many people pick up a little extra work – and money – around the holidays, when businesses need extra help. But scammers pretending to be hiring try to get your personal information. Only apply in person at the business or through the company’s website.
Free gift cards. If you get an email offering you a free gift card, delete it before you open it, unless you are absolutely certain of the sender.
E-cards. These are becoming increasingly popular. But you should not have to provide any personal information to open an e-card. If you do, it could be a scam.
Fake shipping info. If you get an email asking you to pay money or provide information to get delivery of a package, it’s a scam. You paid for your item to be delivered when you purchased it.
Fake charities. Charitable giving increases during the holidays. If you get a solicitation for a contribution, check out the charity at give.org, and make sure the email address is legitimate. In general, you should only give money to organizations you know and trust.
Letters from Santa. There are lots of legitimate organizations that send letter from Santa to your children or grandchildren. But that means that scammers try to cut in on the action. If an organization solicits you, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure it is legitimate.
Odd forms of payment. Never pay for anything using a prepaid debit card, a wire transfer or payment through a third party.
Travel deals. If you get an offer for a travel deal that seems too good to be true, be cautious. Check out the company, ask for references, and never wire money to strangers.
Puppy scams. This scam also runs year-round, but it is most common at the holidays. You might receive an email with a picture of an adorable puppy at a bargain price. You can run a Google search on the image; if you find multiple versions of the image, it is not likely to be a photo of the actual dog you would get. Do a search to determine the going price for that kind of dog; if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if you decide to buy, use a credit card so that if it is a scam, you can contest the charge.