Are You Aware Of These Money Scams?

Are You Aware Of These Money Scams?

Are You Aware Of These Money Scams?

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.


Leo T. Ly, Canadian Personal Finance Blogger/Enthusiast and a Realtor Living in the Markam, Ontario, CanadaAbout Leo
I am a Canadian personal finance blogger/enthusiast and a Realtor living in Markham, Ontario, Canada. I built a net worth of a million dollars over a ten year period. I did it by being a disciplined saver, taking advantage of income tax rules and borrowing money to invest rather than for consumption. I am often excited to take advantage of free money from employers and governments in addition to building more passive income sources. After accumulating my first million dollars, I am now embarking on a second journey towards achieving financial independence. On this journey, I will strive to increase my net worth to two million dollars and retire by the age of 48 - Freedom 48. Come along and follow my journey on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus.

There are 23 opinions expressed on this post.

  1. Hey Leo.

    Great tips here to make readers aware of scams especially during the holidays! The waiting parcel scam you mentioned reminds me of those numerous Serbia and India call scams you get on your phone. Apparently they want you to pick up and keep saying “hello… hello.”

    Like the waiting parcel scam, they are charging you while you are open on the line. I’ve also heard in some cases they can steal some of your information when you pick up and leave the line open for at least 5 seconds. I’m not entirely sure how legit this latter case is though, but overall I do not pick up!

    Thnx for sharing this post!! 👍
    fin$avvy panda recently posted… 10 Ways To Be Financially Prepared For Christmas – Especially #2 and #3My Profile

    1. @Fin$avvy Panda, now that you mentioned it, I do get a few of those calls from time to time. However, I can’t really tell where the call is coming from as their numbers are blocked. If the other party doesn’t respond by third hello, I just say goodbye. lol.

    1. @Laura, this is how these fraudster get us as we let our guards down because we are shopping at a reputable site. Admittedly, I would most likely fall for the fake seller scam too if I did not accidentally read about it. Thank you for the holiday wish. 🙂

    1. @Ashvin, my email account has a great filter and I don’t get much free vacation emails. However, I get a few phone calls on my mobile number and desk phone at work. After a while, those phone calls are just plain annoying.

    1. @LavandaMichelle, most people would think that a site with an “https” prefix is safe. It can be. However, it’s not 100% scam proof as fraudsters are finding new ways to scam people on a daily basis. Keep your guards up.

    1. @Jen, I think I get a few similar emails to yours too. This scam is designed to steal your account information from reputable sites such as Amazon or Ebay and use it to purchase items for the fraudsters.

    1. @Rosey, sorry to hear about your experience on eBay. Please do share with us what the scam was. Hopefully, you have reported to eBay and they have taken action to prevent those scams from happening.

  2. I have been getting a few of the free vacation scams and they are so annoying. Its sad that some people fall for these scams so a post like this is very helpful!

    1. @Agnes, we are all humans after all. Who doesn’t want to feel lucky and win something great like an all-inclusive vacation? Admittedly, I almost fell for a free vacation scam a few years back.

  3. It is so important to be aware of such scams now when everyone is so eager to earn money no matter how it comes. I do get a lot of emails saying ‘congratulation! you have been selected as the winner if some thousand dollars. Send your bank details for transfer.’ Totally fake. Also, there are many institutions do scam in the name of charity as well. Scammy world we live in.

    1. @Rahul, sadly, one of the drawback of the Internet is reach for the fraudsters. They can send out massive spam to the public around the world and if they get even 0.01% of their target, it’ll be a great success rate for them. It’s great that you are able to spot these scams easily.

  4. i get the “Free Vacation Scam” call all the time. I get excited because well, of the free vacation, but I haven’t ever listened past the “congratulations! You have just won a free Air Canada Vacation”

    Great list, I wasn’t aware of the Amazon scam.

    Imagine if we were elderly and receiving these calls- I think they prey on the elderly a lot unfortunately 🙁
    GYM recently posted… 5 Money Lessons for Children: What I Hope to Instill in Our ChildMy Profile

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