The holidays are a wonderful time full of family, friends and giving. It’s also the season of giving…just ask Santa! But unfortunately, there are some out there that try to take advantage of the season. Here are five holiday scams you should be aware of:
Use a credit card–not a debit card–when purchasing online and only shop on secure websites. Secure websites will start with “https” (notice the “s”) and have a lock symbol in the web browser. Make sure the website you are on is accurate. There are fake sites that look like the well-known brands, but may have extra words in the URL. Utilize online reviews before making any purchase. And be sure to understand all refund and return policies and save all of your receipts.
Make sure you know all fees associated with purchasing a gift card for someone. Purchase a gift card that is loaded at the store and keep the receipt or from a secure store website.
Temporary Holiday Jobs
There are many stores and delivery services that advertise for seasonal workers. If you’re considering getting one of these jobs, be sure the job is real. Red flags include: asking you to share personal information online or pay ahead for a job lead. You should be able to apply in person and go to the employer’s website to find out hiring details.
Avoid any charity or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used. Do your research on a charity by looking them up on Charity Navigator. Donate with a check made payable directly to the charity, instead of giving large amounts of cash–this also helps the charity provide the correct person with a receipt of the donation.
Layaway/Extended Service Warranties
If you’re going to use a layaway plan for your holiday purchases, make sure to know all terms and conditions of a store’s layaway policy, including any additional costs. Before purchasing any warranty, figure out the cost and what is covered. You can do research online and read reviews on the ease of submitting a claim. Some credit card companies offer extended warranties with their cards, so check out your cards policies as well.
What holiday scams have you come across? Share it with us in the comments so we can all stay safe!