Watch Out For This Santa Scam
Tis the season for scams, and the last thing you need is to hand over your credit card information to a criminal that's posing as Santa. But how will you know?
I'm sure your inbox is flooded with cyber sales and shipping notifications right now, and that's the fun part of being alive during the holiday season. The not-so-fun part would be getting scammed out of twenty bucks (or more) and that's why attorneys are warning us about some new scams popping up.
Maybe you've seen this one already. The L.A. City Attorney is warning everyone about a holiday scam that starts with an email offering to sell handwritten letters from Santa to your child at a price of $19.99. Clicking on the link takes you to a website promising to sell you a customized letter from Santa, and the attorney said, "In the best case, you're simply out $20. In the worst case, you just shared your credit card information with potential scammers who could now use it for identity theft."
I don't know how people behind scams live with themselves, I really don't. They're not ripping off huge amounts, but they're using poor ole Santa Claus as bait in order to trick innocent parents into sharing personal financial info when they're just trying to make their kiddos happy. Messing with random joy should be a federal offense. Oh, wait. It is.
The Secret Sister scam is another one we've been talking about, and that's a pyramid scheme that starts with an invitation to sign up for a gift exchange. You have to give them personal information to sign up, and then send a gift to a stranger with the hope that the favor is returned. The offer says "you only have to buy one $10 gift and send it to your secret sister. You will then receive 6-36 gifts in return." The reason the scam stays afloat is that it's able to find new people to sign up and try it. And it's illegal because it's considered a form of gambling, and anyone who participates could end up in jail. That would not be the best Christmas ever.
Always look for the S on your web browser to make sure the shopping site is secure -- that's HTTPS. Or, some browsers will put a lock icon right before the web address to let you know it's secure.
It's a good idea to read the reviews and check out the company you're about to give credit card information to, and if there's any doubt don't do it.