The weeks after the holiday season generally bring an increase in scams that can be difficult to spot. Watch out for these common post-holiday scams.
1. Charity scams
When giving charity this time of year, be extra cautious. Verify it’s legit by looking up the organization on CharityNavigator.org, doing a quick Google search with the “charity name+scam” and look for a physical address and phone number on its website. Also, if you have a specific cause you like giving to, contact them personally instead of clicking on an ad that allegedly represents them.
2. Bargain-priced gifts for sale
The weeks following the holidays bring a rush of scams on resale sites like Craigslist and eBay.
Avoid a gift scam by exercising caution when buying an item on a resale site, especially after the holidays. Ask for the seller’s phone number, street address and for several references to see if they check out. If everything seems to be in order, make arrangements to meet in a well-lit and populated area, preferably one with security cameras. Make the exchange after you’ve checked out the legitimacy of the item, using cash only.
2. Belated holiday e-cards
Scammers send thousands of virtual greetings after the holidays, most of which are loaded with malware. An authentic e-card will include a confirmation code for you to copy and paste to the associated website. If you receive a late e-card without such a code, don’t open it. Mark it as spam and delete the email.
4. Post-holiday sales
Unfortunately, lots of the advertised sales you may see in the weeks after the holidays are actually scams. The scammers may be working off a bogus site that looks just like one representing a legitimate business, or they may be targeting their victims with emails that advertise “sales,” but are embedded with malware.
Before making an online purchase, check the site for signs of authenticity. Look for the “s” after the “http,” and check for the lock icon in the URL. If the site allegedly represents a well-known retailer, check the URL for misspellings. Look for the store’s logo on the site, and continue to check the URL of each landing page as you complete your purchase.
If you spot one of these scams, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.