The Christmas season is supposed to be about spreading cheer and generosity. However, some people want to take advantage of generous people during the holidays. You could fall victim to some common Christmas scams if you’re not careful.
Today, we’ll help you learn about some convincing Christmas scams to help you avoid becoming their next victim. Let’s get started.
What Are Christmas Scams?
While scams can occur any time of year, they tend to pick up during the holidays. This is often because people are more generous during the Christmas season.
Many people open their wallets during the weeks leading up to Christmas to help ensure that everyone has a happy holiday. However, not everyone asking for a handout has good intentions.
Like other scams, Christmas scams aim to take advantage of people’s kindness. The scammers will exaggerate or tell bald-faced lies regarding their situation and circumstances.
They hope to convince other people to give them money, which they typically use for something completely different than whatever story they tell.
Are Christmas Scams Common?
Christmas scams are relatively common and are nothing new. Good Samaritans looking to donate during the holidays have fallen for these scams for decades.
Whether the scammers pretend to be charity representatives or stand on the corner holding a sign, these scams tend to increase in frequency around Christmas. These scams are incredibly frustrating because genuine people are in need, especially during the holidays.
Those wanting to be charitable can easily fall for one of these scams. You must do your best to donate to reputable charities and individuals. However, it can be challenging to differentiate between a genuine organization and a scam.
How Can I Protect Myself From Christmas Scams?
Unfortunately, the best way to protect yourself from Christmas scams is to have a healthy dose of skepticism.
If you receive a phone call asking for a donation, ask where you can go to donate in person. You should never give any bank or credit card information over the phone, especially if you weren’t the one who initiated the phone call.
Another way to protect yourself from Christmas scams is to donate to local charities with a positive reputation. Many nonprofits do charitable acts throughout the year, not only during the holidays.
These community non-profits often have a set of checks and balances that help ensure that they handle donations responsibly, with no abuse of the funds.
Plan to do some holiday traveling and check out these 10 Magical Places to Visit this Christmas.
Beware of These Convincing Christmas Scams
While some of these scams happen year-round, they increase in frequency during Christmas. If you want to be generous this holiday season, keep an eye out for these Christmas scams.
Seasonal Job Scams
Many employers hire seasonal workers to help with the extra holiday workload. But just because there’s a job posting doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.
Scammers often create fake job postings online to gather personal information and potentially steal an individual’s identity. Scammers take advantage of vulnerable people wanting to make an honest wage through seasonal employment opportunities.
Unfortunately, many people get excited about the potential to make a few extra bucks and happily provide their information to a fake job application. It’s best to be skeptical, especially if a job promises wages or hours that seem too good to be true.
Fake Order/Shipping Emails
If you check the “spam” folder on your email account, there’s a good chance one of these emails is sitting there. However, online shopping is becoming incredibly popular, so shoppers can easily fall for one of these scams. It would be best if you were suspicious of any order or shipping emails you receive.
What makes these emails, known as phishing scams, incredibly dangerous is that you can become a victim by simply clicking on a link in the email. This can allow hackers to access your email account and all your contacts.
Within seconds, they can start blasting every contact in your account with scam emails sent directly from you. If those in your contacts don’t know better, they could also become a victim, and the emails will quickly spread.
You must be extremely careful with whom you share personal or financial information. If you’re not careful, you could be out of your hard-earned money.
Gift Card Scams
One of the most popular tricks is scammers posing as customer service representatives. They’ll typically provide an elaborate story or circumstance that results in the victim paying money to the company. However, instead of using a credit card transaction, they request to receive payment in gift cards.
Scammers know that gift card transactions are almost impossible for law enforcement to trace. When the victim realizes the scam, their money is long gone, and the scammers have moved on to their next victim.
Despite Mark Rober’s engineering skills (check out the video above) and efforts to shut this industry down, this scam still frequently occurs.
Malls and shopping centers are bustling locations, especially during the holidays. You must be mindful of your surroundings. Pickpockets will wait for the opportunity to strike.
If your wallet, purse, or other valuables are easily accessible, they’ll swipe them. You must keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around you when checking out at the register or getting money from an ATM.
People are more charitable during the holidays. Scammers are notorious for taking advantage of generous people.
Be suspicious of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent a charity. If you have no affiliation with an organization or charity, it should seem suspicious that they’re reaching out for a donation.
When in doubt, decline to make a donation and research the organization. They’ll respect and understand your hesitancy if they’re a reputable organization.
In the end, they’ll likely gladly accept your donation once you’ve had the opportunity to research and confirm they are a valid charity.
Fake Gift Exchanges
Social media and email have made it easier for pyramid schemes to disguise themselves and circulate the internet. During the holidays, it’s common to see “gift exchange” posts that promise a specific number of gifts but only require you to send one.
If something sounds too good to be true, it’s almost always not true. Should you fall victim to one of these scams, you’ll not only waste your time and money, but also break the law. If you find yourself deep in one of these schemes, you could even face felony charges.
While the products the scheme requests may differ, they typically end similarly. There are many more victims and a handful of people sitting at the top who make all the money. Your friends and family also may not enjoy you sharing their personal information with others.
Don’t Get Scammed This Christmas
We want you to have a pleasant time celebrating Christmas this season. However, you must be extremely careful to avoid becoming a scam victim.
We would never discourage anyone from being generous, but we caution you to be wise. Be smart, and don’t allow yourself to be an easy target for scammers.
Have you encountered any of these Christmas scams?
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