You’re making a list.
You’re checking it twice.
You’re trying to remember,
Who has been naughty or nice?
Starting to shop for holiday gifts
That are offered at great prices.
If you haven’t noticed, that was my very amateurish attempt to write a holiday jingle to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” The holiday season is just around the corner. Everyone is in a festive mood and is busy preparing for the holiday season. During this period, it’s the perfect time for scam artists to prey on their victims while people’s guards are down. People are at their most vulnerable as they are in a generous and giving mood.
Whether you’re trying to save a few bucks when shopping for the perfect gift or planning give to charities in need, you need be vigilant and have your spider sense turned on. Scam artists are out on the hunt for victims during this time. The scams that I will be presenting to you were specifically designed by scam artists to target your emotions and moods at this time. Be familiar with it and avoid being the next victim trophy for these scam artists. Save yourself some money, stress, and disappointment this holiday.
The Amazon Payment Scam
Currently, two of the most popular money scams are the Amazon Payment and fake Amazon Seller scams. For the Amazon Payment scam, the fraudster will post big-ticket items such as cars, motorcycles or ATVs ads on sites such as Craiglist, Kijiji or facebook groups. Once they’ve got a potential victim, they’ll try to get their victim to send a money transfer to a phony Amazon payment system. Here’s a very informative post by Jim Yih on Maple Money documenting the whole scam which he avoided. When you make large purchases, always be vigilant and ask as many questions as you can to verify if the other party is legit.
The Amazon Fake Seller Scam
The second Amazon scam is the fake seller scam. The fraudster would open a third party seller account on Amazon and sell popular items for special occasions. In this case, it’s the holiday season and the fraudster will be posting high demand holiday items at a great discounts comparing to other retailers. Once you buy the items from these fake sellers, they promise to ship it to you, but will never do. For the full story on how this scam works check out Wade Shapard’s post on Forbes. If you are going to buy from a third party seller on Amazon this holiday season, just ensure that you shop from a seller with a long history on Amazon and with decent recent feedback from their purchasers.
The Free Vacation Scam
“Congratulations! You’ve just been selected as one of our ten lucky winners for an all-inclusive vacation from Air Canada Vacations.” When I first received this sudden phone call, my mood instantly improved and I started to get excited because I’ve never won anything valuable in my life. As I continue to listen to the automated and unsolicited call, red flags started to appear. I was encouraged to take advantage asap, provide my credit card number to secure my prize and click one to accept.
Suddenly, my spider sense started to wake up and told me that I had never entered any contests, so how can I win a contest when I had never entered? I hung up my phone after realizing it’s probably a scam. From time to time, I still get unsolicited calls similar to this one. I just hung up whenever I get such a call.
To sharpen your spider sense this holiday, check out this thorough list of vacation scams from the Anti Fraud Centre. The worst thing that can happen is you and your family showing up at the airport ready for your dream vacation and found out that you’ve been scammed and your dream vacation never existed.
The Charity Scam
You’ve just had a great holiday gathering with your family. It was time well spent and you are feeling very fortunate and blessed to be able to spend such quality time with your loved ones. Suddenly, you get a call with a very soothing voice claiming to be a volunteer from a well-known charity. The volunteer warmly asked you to donate generously to a great cause to support children currently living in poverty.
You’re in a giving mood and thinks that it’s the holiday, everyone deserves something during this time. You take out your wallet, ready to give your credit card number and make a donation. Stop. You may be talking to a fraudster rather than a volunteer from a reputable charity.
If you really want to donate, ask the volunteer to provide you with the charity information. Once you verify that the charity is legitimate and you want to support the charity, you can always contact them back to donate to them. Never, provide your information over the phone from unsolicited individuals. To find out more scams related to charity donations, check out this article from USA Today.
The Parcel-Waiting Scam
You either got a note at your front door or in your mailbox resembling a delivery notice from a parcel delivery company that you may be familiar with. The note indicated that they have an important package to be delivered to your household but no one was home to receive it. There is a phone number on the note asking you contact the company to arrange a convenient time to pick up your package.
If the phone number does not have the same area code as your current area or a “1-800” number, then it may be from an overseas number. If you call, you’ll get an auto message asking you to wait for the next customer service rep to serve you. While you wait, you are actually being charged while you are on the call. So if you get such a note, it’s not addressed to anyone in your household, and it’s a number with an area code that you don’t recognize, verify the number before you call.
My Two Cents
The holiday is a great time to look forward to. Everyone is trying to give like Santa and save like Scrooge. Scammers are quite aware of people’s emotions, intentions and will definitely come up with clever methods to trick unsuspected individuals to become their next victim. To avoid being the next money scam victim, just keep in mind, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
Also, if you want to give to charity, verify the charity information and status before you give. Have a save, wait, I mean safe and happy holiday ISaved5K readers.
So readers, are there any money scams you know that other readers should be aware of? Do share in the comment section below.