Don’t Get Scrooged by These 20 Holiday Scams

If you’re not the paranoid type, you might be after you read this article. We break down the common holiday scams – 20 in all.

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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.

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  • Fake coupons for sale. Before we get to scam websites, let’s start with scam deals. Any good bargain shopper knows that coupons and coupon codes may be needed to get the best prices. At the same time, savvy shoppers should also know never to pay for one of those coupons or codes. Not only is selling a coupon against most manufacturer terms of use, but you might also find yourself embarrassed if you go on national TV using counterfeit coupons.
  • 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.

Gift card scams

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  • pennyhammack

    Scam alert…I received an e-mail offering a “free” credit report. I check mine periodically anyway so went ahead and gave them my credit card number so they could charge then refund $1.00. Somewhere in the very small print it said I had to call them back within seven days to cancel or they would start charging me $29.95/month for continuous monitoring but I didn’t notice it so they charged the $29.95 on my account and didn’t refund the $1.00 either. But that’s not the worst part. Another credit reporting company was able to pick up my information and charge me too. It’s taken numerous calls and yelling on my part to get the charges refunded. And, they’re taking 7-10 business days to do it.

    • Jcatz4

      Lots of luck getting a refund on this scam. You are allowed to receive a free report a year from each of the 3 big credit reporting companies – Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. You won’t get “free” credit scores but the reports are free. I printed mine in Oct. for this year. No fees charged.

    • Gemstone

      Let get this straight, you knew it was a scam, so you decided to give them your credit card number anyway. DUH, what did you think was going to happen ?

      • pennyhammack

        No, I didn’t realize this was a scam until I got my first charge account bill. I usually get a legitimate email offer for a free credit check a couple of times a year. OK, I probably wasn’t at my most brilliant and didn’t read the fine print as closely as I should have on the first one. I did not authorize the second credit check at any time, why would anyone want two credit checks within a couple of days. The two companies names are Scoresense and ThinkCredit. And, I have received credits from both companies so enough yelling does help.

      • Sean Cammack

        Gemstone, learn to how to read before you make such hurtful comments. She never said she knew it was a scam beforehand!

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