For most, the holidays are a time to enjoy friends and loved ones, but it’s also a time for holiday scams. To minimize the chances of being victimized by a holiday scam, here are five actions you can take to protect yourself.

Confirm The Lucrative Seasonal Job Actually Exists 

It’s sensible to take on a seasonal job to earn some extra money and avoid a holiday debt hangover. However, some jobs aren’t quite what they appear to be, and others don’t even exist.

So, if you’re offered a position by an employer you’ve never heard of, confirm they are a real entity. Also, never hand over your personal information until you’re certain that there’s a job waiting for you. And by all means, never accept a seasonal job (or any other job for that matter) that requires you to pay for training or specialized software to get started. 

Use Caution When You Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Gift cards are the perfect gift when you’re crunched for time. Plus, you can snag them online at a discounted rate. But here’s the catch: not every website that sells them is legit. And, imagine how embarrassed you’ll be if your friend or loved one attempts to use a gift card only to find out it’s worthless? 

To take advantage of discounted gift cards without getting duped, check out the vast selection of offers from our partners here. Otherwise, do your homework on the seller to confirm they’re not running a scammy operation. Search for independent reviews from past customers, and check to see if they’re accredited and rated by the Better Business Bureau.

Also, avoid online resellers that don’t offer buyer protection policies. If they won’t guarantee the gift cards, chances are they have something to hide. 

Don’t Buy From Random Delivery Trucks

You’ve had your eyes on a special edition video game system for quite some time. It would make the perfect Christmas gift for your loved one but it’s priced much higher than your wallet can afford at the moment. 

But, one day after work when you’re heading to your car, you notice an oversized UHaul truck with the back door open. Inside, there’s a ton of high-end electronics and a random guy invites you over to take a peek. And to your surprise, the game system is front and center and priced at half of what the retailers are asking.

The guy only accepts cash, and you don’t want to miss out on what seems like the deal of a lifetime. So, you hand over the cash, grab the box, and speed home in excitement. When you get home, you find a damaged, outdated game console inside.

Believe it or not, these types of scenarios are quite common around the holidays. Even if the seller is willing to open the boxes to confirm what’s inside, chances are they’re selling stolen goods.

Steer Clear of Fake Charities

Tis’ the season to be jolly and spread joy amongst your relatives and friends through giving. Unfortunately, it’s also a time that’s ripe with opportunity for fraudsters to prey on innocent consumers. Whether it’s through a fake fundraiser or a direct mailer soliciting donations for a charity that doesn’t exist, you may be at risk.

Here’s the deal: professional fraudsters know how to play on the emotions of consumers and make them feel guilty for not supporting a cause. But you don’t have to fall victim to their deceptive tactics. 

Check out this resource from the Federal Trade Commission for additional guidance on how to find quality charities. There’s nothing wrong with being generous, but you want to make sure your money goes to a worthy cause. 

Watch Out for Fake Websites 

Fake websites that mimic those of the big-box retailers seem to come out of nowhere during the holiday season. And, what’s even worse is these sites will trick you into thinking you’re getting a good deal on an item. Then, they capture your personal and payment information at checkout, and time out once you hit submit.

At that point, you’re at the mercy of the hackers, and there’s no turning back. You can avoid falling victim to this scam by confirming you’re on the correct website before shopping.

Do you still have reservations about shopping online? Use your credit card because they offer some protection if the retailer turns out to be a fraudster.

Final Thoughts

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. The reality is a designer handbag that retails for $2,500 but is listed online for $200 is probably a counterfeit. Or, maybe there’s a fraudster sitting at a laptop waiting to ship you an empty box. You get the drift.

So, do your homework and only shop on secure websites. That way, you won’t allow a scammer to steal your holiday joy.

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