Not everyone embraces the spirit of giving during the holiday season. Many people use this time to take advantage of you, the unsuspecting customer. Here are just a few Scams to look out for.
Holiday “Trips” or Discounts
- Scamwatch has received reports of people ‘winning’ holidays in destinations such as Mexico and Las Vegas. You’re phoned out of the blue to be told of this win, either by an automated message or a real-life person. If you accept this ‘win’ you’re asked for credit card details to cover the ‘incidental costs’ or fees or taxes.
- You are called, with an amazing offer. One example reported to Scamwatch was a holiday valued at $3,898less a $3000.00 discount = $898.00. Guess how the remainder was to be paid? Again, never give your credit card number out over the phone. Hang up.
- In a variation on the above, other scammers have been claiming to be calling from supermarket chains saying that the consumer has won a travel voucher or some other discount vouchers. They then ask for credit card details to ‘claim’ the prize.
“Secret Sister” Gift Exchange – This scam has been seen on Facebook
- The first person makes a post on some social media platform inviting six friends to take part in a gift exchange: You send one person a $10 gift, and in return, you could get between six and 36 gifts, depending how many people participate. You’re instructed to send the gift to “sister number 1” on the list provided by the person who invited you, move “sister number 2” to number 1, put your name as number 2 and, finally, invite six friends to participate. Each of those friends would theoretically invite six additional friends, hence the potential for 36 gifts — and the name “pyramid scheme.”
Online Ordering and Shipping Scams
- It has been reported that some sites are selling items that they do not have in stock. You place your order and pay for your item but it never arrives. No one ever replies to your inquires about your purchase. AVOID all websites that are offering too good to be true deals; because most of the time, they are.
- Scammers are sending emails out letting you know that you have a pending package. These emails will seem to be coming from a reputable shipping company such as UPS, USPS or FedEx. The email asks you to download an attachment, this attachment contains harmful spyware that then allows the scammer to view every website you visit along with all the information you input into that website. Including phone numbers and credit card information.
Not everyone is out to be a bad guy this holiday season, but unfortunately some people are. So be on your toes and if something looks suspicious STAY AWAY!