Friday, December 5, 2008

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE SCAM!!!


As the holiday day approaches and the economy worsen, more con artists are working around the clock to get to your hard-earned money. I decided to write this post because a close friend of mind fell for a scam. Therefore, I have listed a few top holiday scams to watch out for. Please tell a friend.

1. NAMING A STAR - Some people may think that the best way to show someone the symbol of Christmas and how much they love someone is by giving them their very own star . I have always had a problem with these types of companies. It made it seem like companies owned the stars or something. These particular companies sell stars for $20 to $150 dollars. The people that fall for this scam will be given a certificate, a picture of their star, and a promise that the star's name will be in the star registry. The fact is that only the International Astronomical Union officially names stars and except for some older recognized stars, nearly all of the billions of stars are no longer named, but number. If you are that serious about giving the gift of a star, go the closest planetarium, pick a pretty star and ask the astronomer for the coordinates, and then, go home a make your own certificate for free!

2. GIFT CARD - Scams artists are stealing money from gift cards before you even used it. My friend was a victim to this particular scam by purchasing a Olive Garden's Gift Card at Wal-Mart for $100. The Better Business Bureau has said this has become the most common and fastest growing scam this year. This is how it works: Thieves copy down the activation number on the back of the card. They wait a few days for you to buy the card and activate it. They can then use the numbers that they've jotted down to go on a spending spree...online or in person! Please protect yourself by only buying gift cards behind the cashiers' counter and make sure that the PIN number is behind a peel. Keep your receipt. If you become a victim, you may be able to get a refund.

3. FAKE CHARITIES - I know that my blog is titled, "Each Other's Keeper", and often I do promote taking care of each other. However, I will use this forum to encourage everyone to be wise about their giving. Most legit companies do not solicit donations door to door or by phone. Therefore, please avoid charities that do solicit door to door or over the phone. Some crooks will also have the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Big Brother's and Sisters on their perspective websites and encourage you to donate via Pay Pal or something. I strongly encourage everyone to go to your actual charities official website and leave the donations there. If you are unsure, please contact the Better Business Bureau for assistance.

4. HOLIDAY E-GREETING CARDS - Computer hackers around this time of year is working overtime. They are sending holiday greeting attachments to your e-mail. Once you open it and download it to your computer, the hacker will have access to your files and your personal information will be vulnerable. Avoid being a victim. Update your anti virus and anti spy ware software and make sure you only open e-greetings from people that you know.

5. KEEP RECEIPTS - Normally when you go out for restaurants, most people pay for their meals by credit card. There is a section on the receipt that you can put a tip on the receipt so that the tip can be deducted as well. Well, like most people, they leave cash tips on the table. I strongly suggest that if you are giving someone a tip, give it to them directly. Also, if the tip is on the credit card indicate the exact amount and put the total or if the tip will not be on the credit card, please indicate $0.00 in the tip section.

If you have some additional advice or suggestions or simply like/dislike this post, please write a comment. I look forward to all comments and I look forward to looking at various other blogs.

Happy Holidays & Be Safe!