Beware of Bogus Charities
Charitable organizations use the holidays as a time to solicit donations. Con men know this and take advantage of the generous with fake charities. A lot of the non-existent charity action has moved online. Practically anyone with a little web design knowledge can mock up a perfectly legitimate-looking website and ask for donations. Before you donate to any charity, Google them to make sure they actually exist.
Check Your Gift Cards Twice
If you buy gift cards in the store as a present, make sure to take a good hard look at the card itself before you pay for it. A common technique for scamming shoppers is to scuff up the security code and write down the serial number for later use. Scam artists call the 800 number on the back at a later date to see if the card has been activated. If it has, they can use the serial numbers to buy things online and effectively steal from the actual card holder.
Due to the popularity of exclusive events like concerts and sports games held during the holidays, tickets to such events are often in short supply. Con artists can easily print up phony tickets and sell them either on Craigslist or outside the event itself. If you buy tickets, do it from a friend or co-worker. Try to avoid the people hanging out on the street or selling them online.
The holidays are a busy time for cyber-criminals as well as shoppers and travelers. A common scam is to send an E-mail to an unsuspecting victim informing them that their package has arrived and that they need to pick it up from the local UPS or FedEx location. Typically, there's a link to click. Don't click it, because this is almost always a phishing attempt to get personal information from you.
The holidays are a time for reflection, celebration, and family. It's fine to enjoy yourself and take some time off mentally, just don't let your guard down too much. Even though you'd probably never try to pull off any of these scams on your fellow man doesn't mean there aren't shady characters out there who would. Just remember to exercise a bit of common sense this holiday season.