For many people, the holiday season is truly the most wonderful time of the year, from spending time with loved ones to exchanging thoughtful gifts. However, some unethical people view the holidays as a chance to take advantage of people when their guard is down.
Holiday financial scams are unfortunately becoming more common with every passing year – in fact, the IRS even released a warning this year to avoid a particularly sophisticated email phishing scam hitting thousands of consumer inboxes. But armed with a little information, you may be able to avoid dealing with fallout from identity theft, falsely accrued debt, and other financial frustrations during the holidays and into the New Year.
Below, our team at Lam Law Firm has compiled a list of the most common holiday scams you should know about, along with some tips on how to avoid them:
- Charity scams. It can be unfathomable to most people, but scammers know that people are more inclined to donate towards a charity during the holiday season. Be cautious whenever someone solicits money, whether through a text, call or email, and be sure to check out any charity on Charity Navigator before you commit to paying. You should also always ask for your receipt.
- Discount scams on social media. If you see an enticing Facebook advertisement with terms that sound too good to be true, or containing misspelled words, don’t click on it! From store discounts with malicious links to fake contests, scammers use social media to draw in victims looking for easy gifting options. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything with the word “free.”
- Fake letters to Santa. Like other scams, the “personalized letter from Santa” email plays on your holiday spirit and the desire to find the perfect gift. While there may be reputable services out there to help bring Kris Kringle to life, the vast majority of Santa services are scams.
- Fake order confirmations. Because so many people do their holiday shopping online, you may receive dozens of order confirmation and tracking emails for your purchases. Scammers take advantage of the shipping frenzy by sending fake UPS or FedEx confirmation emails that may contain malware or bad links. Always scan your email for accuracy before you click on a tracking link or download any attachments, and delete the email if it looks suspicious. If in doubt, pull up your order information on the seller’s website directly to check tracking information.
- Look-alike websites. Scammers create look-alike ecommerce sites to fool some shoppers into entering credit card information online. When searching for a specific site, check the URL on the search results page and double-check that you’re clicking on the real deal.
Need assistance with managing serious debt? Contact Lam Law Firm at (843) 695-7700 for a free consultation with our Myrtle Beach bankruptcy lawyer.