Seasonal Scams at an All Time High

( – Tis the season for scamming consumers, so Buyer Beware! A fresh survey from AARP queried almost 2,000 Americans and found a whopping 80% said they had encountered a holiday-related scam of some sort.

A common scam is the fake shipping alert, wherein a fraudster claims you’ve got a package en route and contacts you for identifying information or extra cash to take delivery. Over 50% of the respondents indicated they experienced that type of scam.

Another scam is when people buy fake products that they saw an advertisement for online. The scam here is that you think you’re making a legitimate purchase, but you’re actually forking over your hard-earned cash and getting nothing in return.

Experian reported in 2020 that nearly 25% of the American public has gotten scammed around the holidays. That would put the number of potential victims in the tens of millions around the nation.

Head of fraud services for VISA, Michael Jabbara, said that people are more likely to get scammed around the holidays for a variety of reasons. People tend to spend more money this time of year, making purchases for gifts, travel plans, etc. Scammers will take advantage of that willingness to spend as well as the urgency of finding the perfect gift in time for Christmas.

There are some red flags consumers can look out for before they fall victim. Watch out for charity scams. These are a common type of scam where a little-known charity claims to be doing good humanitarian work but actually upwards of 90% of their donations fund the organization, not the efforts. A red flag here is urgency. A legitimate charity will be happy to take your funds anytime and isn’t going to pressure you to make a donation immediately.

Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true! The old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This scam not only taps your money, but can steal your payment information and use it to make fraudulent purchases later.

Gift card scams are also common. To avoid these, make sure you buy gift cards online or from a retailer that keeps them behind the counter. Scammers have been known to open the packaging, steal the account number and pin, and then return the card to the rack waiting for someone to load it with cash they can then steal.

Copyright 2023,