It should come as no surprise that this time of year is ripe for scams and con artists. The NRF estimates that nearly 20% of all retail sales take place during the holiday months. Anytime there is a flood of money exchanging hands, there will unfortunately be a handful of thieves ready to take advantage.
In addition to the tool utilizing a background check when you have a funny feeling about someone, you should be aware of the following perennial holiday scams to help prevent you from having a Blue Christmas (or Hannuakah, or Kwanza or… Festivus).
Perennial Holiday Scam #1: Gift Card Scams
According to CEB TowerGroup data, $124 billion will be loaded onto gift cards this year. Gift card scams work in a variety of ways but one common strategy is for the thieves to write down the identity numbers of the cards and then wait for the card to be activated before going on their own, illegal shopping spree.
BBB recommends buying gift cards from a reputable retailer and to be wary of gift card exchanges.
Perennial Holiday Scam #2: “Grandparent” Scams
We have noted these before, but the elderly, particularly if unable to be with their families during the holidays, can be particularly vulnerable to scams via phone calls and emails from a supposedly “stranded” relative.
Perennial Holiday Scam #3: Gift theft
With tons of packages arriving and sitting on your doorstep while you’re at work, they make a tempting and easy target for thieves. If you live in a city or high-foot traffic area, consider an Amazon Locker or sending your packages to your office or with a neighbor you know will be home during the day.
Perennial Holiday Scam #4: Home burglaries
Home Alone is a classic for more reasons than one, but the main premise of the film is unfortunately timeless. With holiday travel and empty homes, comes a potential increase in home burglaries. According to the FBI, nearly 400,000 homes are burglarized each year during the holiday season.
Take some common sense steps to deter thieves. Have a neighbor you trust check in on your home. Consider investing home security and an intelligent lighting system that will alternate your lights to give the appearance of people being at home.
Use common sense, your intuition and when available, public data, to help inform your decisions during the holiday season and enjoy the time with your family and friends.
The team at BeenVerified wishes you a happy and safe holiday season.