As state and federal consumer protection departments know, the holiday season is ripe for scams. Nothing is sacred when it comes to scammers, and they don't mind taking advantage of people who are trying to do nice things over the holidays.
From online and in-store shopping to shipping, there's a lot to be mindful of when sharing financial information. Here are five of the most common scams to watch out for this holiday season.
Whether you need something that's not for sale locally, found a great deal through a website, or you won an online auction, many of us will be doing our holiday shopping online. But beware of pop-up ads, websites that ask for payment options other than credit cards, and always look for the "https" at the front of the website url.
Giving gift cards has become ever more popular, as they can easily be mailed and allow the recipient to have options in what they get. But some scammers are tricking people into handing over thousands of dollars in gift cards -- don't fall for it!
For those that can't afford the total price of a gift right away, layaway plans are a great option. They're also an opportunity for unsavory retailers to charge exorbitant fees and interest rates on the purchase.
Last year, thousands of consumers got emails titled "FedEx: Delivery Problems Notification." But when they clicked the link in the email, it led to a site that infected their computer with malware. FedEx warns that it doesn't send unsolicited emails to customers, so be careful.
When you're shopping for the best online deals of the year during Cyber Monday, don't get fooled by deals that sound too good to be true -- especially if they appear on shady websites.
If you think you've been the victim of a holiday scam, contact a local consumer protection attorney.