Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Popular Holiday Scams

There is a special convention going on right now.  This convention is where all of the scam artists get together and discuss new and creative ways to get unsuspecting consumers.  Why not?  During the months on October through December, people are normally happy during the holidays.  They are more likely to give a dollar or two to a new charity.  They are more likely to put a little extra in that little bucket.  They are more likely to part from their money.  After all, it is seasons greetings!

Don't be follow by the hype!  There are so many stones that are placed in boxes with pretty ribbons on them that are worthless.  "It will never happen to me", is a common saying that most people say during the holidays.  I was one of them.  Therefore, below are a few scams you should look out for.

(1) Naming A Star
What is the best thing in the world then to give someone a symbol of the holidays, a star?  Many companies claim that they can sell you a star for a fee - $50.  They will send you a certificate with the name and location of the star and promise that it will be in the star's registry.

Stars are named by the International Astronomical Union -- and they aren't selling.  Names for stars are mostly given numbers and are assigned according to the internationally accepted rules of the IAU.  Anyone claiming to be able to name stars have no legal standing.  In fact, you can create a certificate yourself and give someone a gift of star for FREE!

(2) Fake Charities
Trick or Treat.  Jingle Bells!  Is that a group of sweet looking children or young ladies at your door?  Yes.  It is children selling newsletter, off-brand perfume, or mystery gifts to support a local scam artist -- I mean charity.

Whether scam artists are peddling from door-to-door or on the streets, they are knocking, calling, e-mailing, or mailing you with pleas of donations because during the holidays people are soft.  Let's admit it.  You are more likely to give up some money during the months of October through December then any other period of the year.  I know I am!  According to the Federal Trade Commission, many of the calls you get this year will be from scam artists.  The FTC has a checklist of warning signs to help you steer clear of charity scams.

(3) AVOID All Holiday Clubs

There will be telemarketers calling you to say that you have one a free holiday vacation to a city of your choice.  Of course, it will be free of charge.  However, the telemarketer will need to get your credit card information to verify your identity.  Please look at this video of what someone had to go through who fell for this scam!

(4) AVOID All In-Store Gift Cards
This is something that a friend and I fell for last year.  There are some scam artists that will go and write down all the codes to various gift cards for stores and restaurants.  After you, the unsuspecting consumer purchase the card at the register.  The scam artist can check online to see if the card has been activated and make purchases online.  By the time the recipient uses the card, the card will say invalid or out of funds.

(5) ALWAYS Use A Secured Site
When making purchases online, always make sure that the site is real and secure.  Some sites, especially banks, will send you e-mails saying that you need to verify your account number because of some recent fraudulent activity.  One of my friends fell for this two weeks ago.  She had to close her account and do an investigation.  Do not fall for it.

Unfortunately, despite the supposed holiday spirit, there are many people that find creative ways to scam unsuspecting people.  


 Please follow and comment.  
Also, subscribe and follow my other blog for 
future Black Friday Sales, Coupon Codes, and Freebies:  Her Money Makers