Don’t Fall Victim to These Seasonal Scams

( – The thought of winning large sums of money or an expensive item is very enticing. It’s why people play the lottery or enter raffles. It’s also why people tend to fall victim to many of the scams that con artists perpetrate to line their pockets while emptying their victims’ wallets. And it seems that during the holiday season, the scams just seem to increase in number. Here are a few to look out for.

Hot-Ticket Items Scam

Every year, there’s a hot, must-have fashion item, toy, or electronic gaming system. The problem is they sell out so fast that unless you have your finger on the pulse, you may miss out on them. Here’s where scammers come in. They create fake listings on Facebook Marketplace or other similar sites to lure unsuspecting people in. Once you pay—usually a much lower price than what the product actually costs—you won’t receive the goods. Stick to reputable retailers for these items.

Donations to Charity

Many people get into the holiday spirit by trying to do good for others, and that means donating to charity. However, it pays to be cautious here, too. Don’t just hand over your money to someone who asks for it on behalf of an organization. Scammers catch a lot of people by convincing them to donate to an illegitimate charity. Instead, if you want to donate to a good cause, check out Charity Watch or Charity Navigator to see which ones give beneficiaries the most bang for your buck.

Be Wary of Gift Cards

Most people like receiving gift cards for the holidays so they can pick out what they want themselves. However, scammers have sometimes been known for manipulating cards on a display rack to alert them when you’ve activated the card. Online gift cards are a better bet, as are those directly handled by the cashier.

As always, keep a good eye on your bank statements to make sure there are no suspicious charges, because it’s very easy for people to gain your account information in this day and age. Report any suspicious activity to your bank right away, and report any scams to the Federal Trade Commission or your local law enforcement.

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