Around the holidays, people are looking to be charitable and get gifts for their loved ones. This makes it a perfect time for scammers to ply their trade of trying to part hard-working people from their money. Here are some of the more common holiday scams to be on the lookout for this season.
Some scammers will call older people and pose as their grandchildren to ask them for money for the holidays. If you have grandchildren, make sure you know their phone numbers. If you get a call from a number you don’t recognize and the person claims to be your relative, call the number you have for that person first. Ask them if they’ve contacted you recently from another number. If not, you can safely block the original caller altogether.
Participating in a Secret Santa exchange can often be very fun. However, some online use the veneer of a gift exchange to operate a pyramid scheme. They’ll use misleading language to make it sound like you’ll send out one gift and receive 30 in return, but this isn’t reality. These “gift exchanges” are often just a cover for a pyramid scheme that tricks you into getting involved with a scam.
Be vigilant when you’re shopping for gifts online. Enterprising scammers have created cloned versions of websites in the past that look just like major retailers but are actually just an attempt to steal money from people by taking their credit card information. When you’re shopping, double-check the URL of any site you’re on before you enter your personal information. If the URL looks strange, back out of the page and navigate to a shopping site you’re familiar with and comfortable buying from.
It’s tempting to get your kids a young puppy for Christmas. After all, children often want to bond with a new pet from the time the pet is very young, so parents want to get them a puppy. However, be careful when shopping for puppies (or kittens, for that matter) while online. Often, you’ll find yourself buying a dog from a puppy mill, and such animals can often have numerous health issues relating to their inhumane breeding standards.
Other times, people purporting to be selling puppies online aren’t selling anything at all–they’re simply hustling you for money with nothing in return. Be careful who you send money to, especially around the holidays!