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Stay alert to holiday scams

Posted at 6:30 AM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 07:31:02-05

Santa might be making his list and checking it twice, but unfortunately, scammers continue to do things that are not so nice.

Here are a few of the holiday scams that you want to avoid:

The Secret Sister Gift Exchange and now secret Santa Dog scheme have been making their way around social media. This pyramid scheme promises multiple gifts to those who add their name, send a gift, and wait for several others to send to gifts to them. However, most participants receive no gifts (or very few), and participating in these schemes could be illegal.

Scammers posing as Amazon representatives via phone or email are also popular.

They worry you by saying that you are a victim of fraud or that there is a problem with your order. They try to phish for personal and banking information, computer access or convince you to make gift card purchases. If you get a call or email, contact Amazon via a website that you know is legitimate. Do not respond to a phone number or email provided by the scammer.

Fake websites with fake products at prices too good to be true are also making the rounds. Check out these sites and products before you buy.

Sadly, this is also a time when people are lonely and may be in search of a pet or a significant other. Unfortunately, scammers have been posing as someone selling and shipping a pet.

Or, they convince people who are looking to make a love connection that they are madly in love but need money for a hardship. The common thread and red flag is that communication is never done in person, and is often done via email or chat. If you cannot meet in person, cut off communication.

We all want to believe that we could never fall for a scam. But, all it takes is a weak moment when we are scared, excited, or want to do something good. Slow down, check things out, and do not be afraid to speak up to authorities and consumer groups if you have been scammed or suspect a scam.

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