Retailers do big business during December, but so do thieves. With so much money flowing freely, con artists are out in full force.
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson highlights some of the biggest holiday scams in the video below. Then keep reading for the monster list of 20 scams making the rounds this holiday season.
Holiday shopping scams
We’re all trying to spend less on our holiday gifts, and our eagerness to save a buck is at the root of many of these scams. Others are feeding off a particular item or brand’s popularity and use some high-tech sleight of hand to get you to make your purchase in the wrong place.
- Cheap luxury goods. A $50 Rolex should send the alarms in your head into overdrive. Some cons set up bogus websites for popular holiday gifts. These items come up in search results, and the cheap price lures shoppers in. Then, they either take your money and run or take your money and send you a cheap knockoff not worth the money you spent.
- EBay and Craigslist scams. Other thieves can’t be bothered to set up their own website, so they use eBay or Craigslist instead. Different venue, but you’ll find the same racket as above. Either they’ll never send you the item or send you a cheap piece of junk. Be sure to check feedback before buying on eBay and never have something shipped from a seller on Craigslist. Always meet in person in a public place and take along a friend for good measure.
- Counterfeit websites. Now we come to the big guns. These are the scam artists who are taking it to a whole new level by completely copying the websites of popular brands. Although these sites look impressive, there’s typically something off about them – usually typos, or grammar that sounds like a British nanny wrote the Web copy (“Kindly enter your credit card information”). If you aren’t sure about a website’s legitimacy, call the toll-free number listed. Typically, scammers use the company’s actual number. The customer service rep can then either verify whether you’re on the real website or take your order over the phone.