Avoiding Online Holiday Scams

I have to admit, the late Thanksgiving has thrown me off a bit this year.  Christmas is just 15 days away and last night I realized I hadn’t even begun shopping for Christmas presents yet – simply tragic!  The kids’ lists have been made for weeks, so before bed I sat down and cracked open the laptop.  Two hours and $400 later, 80% of my Christmas shopping was done, (thank you, Amazon)!  I typically do all of my Christmas shopping in stores, however being on a time crunch, I figured I’d join the masses this year and shop online.  I thought I might miss the Christmas-y feeling I get when shopping for presents, or perhaps I’d end up breaking the bank with shopping costs, but this actually wasn’t the case.  I got in and out quickly, Amazon had everything I needed at affordable prices and best of all, there were no lines!

Believe it or not, 70% of Christmas shoppers have taken their shopping lists online this year, which means online businesses like Amazon are having a great holiday season.  It also means that online scammers are in full-swing, just waiting for the unexperienced online shopper to bite.  The next time you shop online, read your email or sign up for a brand new app, make sure you do your research and ensure the company is reputable.  Afterall, it’s the internet – if there’s nothing researchable about the company you’re interested in, there’s a problem!

Tips for Online Shopping

Avoid These Nasty Christmas Scams

Fake Charities – In the giving spirit this holiday season?  Before you get out the check book, make sure the charity you are donating to is reputable.  Be extremely cautious with door-to-door sales.

Phony Ads – When shopping on Craigslist or other classified ads, never wire transfer money.  Choose face-to-face transactions in public areas or at your local bank.

Unbelievable Travel Deals – Your mother has told you this a thousand times…if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Beware of scamming or misleading travel deals offering extremely discounted trips or coupons.

3rd Party Gift Cards – Always purchase gift cards in-person or at the online store of the establishment.  Many 3rd party companies will never send the card, or send the card with a zero balance.

Scamming Social Media Companies – Beware of unknown company ads encouraging you to enter into a promotion.  Nobody will ever win the promotion, and the scamming company will certainly benefit from the personal information you entered to win the contest.

Holiday e-Card Viruses – Thinking of opening an e-card you received in your inbox?  Be sure to first check that you are familiar with the sender of the e-card, and then verify that the  company is reputable.  Many online scammers will hide spyware and viruses inside the link to an e-card.

The moral of this story is to simply shop, surf and browse smart this holiday season.  If a deal sound fishy, it probably is.  Be happy, be merry and stick to what you know!