DECEMBER 10, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 45
This week we offer season-relevant advice from our friends in the Elder Consumer Protection Program at Stetson University College of Law’s Center for Excellence in Elder Law. We share this information with their permission:
Top 5 Holiday Scams
During the holiday season, fraudsters find their way onto the naughty list each year with clever new scams. Consumer authorities warn that the holidays offer fraudsters plenty of opportunities to prey upon unwary consumers. This year, be sure to keep your eye out for these “popular” scams and avoid becoming a victim:
- Gift Card Scams. Gift cards can be tampered with, especially in stores with large gift card displays. Try to purchase gift cards straight from the cashier or customer service representative.
- Fake Vacation Rentals. Fraudsters will often advertise property they do not own, and use personal information on a bogus rental application to commit identity theft. When booking a vacation rental, use a reputable realtor that you can meet with in person.
- Fake Holiday Jobs. Work-from-home job offers may appear to be a good source of extra cash during the holidays. However, if an employer asks you to make substantial payments up front for materials, or asks you for personal or financial information, then you could be a potential scam victim.
- Charity Fraud. Not every person asking you for a donation is working for a legitimate charity. Be sure to confirm that the charity exists, and avoid cash donations. Rather donate with a check made payable to the charity.
- Internet Shopping Scams. Online merchants may advertise unbeatable prices, but be wary. You may be required to purchase a large quantity of items to get the deal, and what you see may not be what you get. Get information and reviews about the merchant before placing your order.