NBC33 Safety Alert: Beware of Holiday Scams

POSTED: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 8:04am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm

The holidays are here and folks are in the spirit of giving.

That's exactly why consumer security experts say you have to be on guard more than ever from the grinches looking to rip you off. "People want to help people, but you also have the scammers out there who want to take their part," says Better Business Bureau spokesman Carol Venello.

The most likely scams to target you this year include charitable phishing scams out to get your credit card and personal information on line.

Watch out for email requests from what appear to be legitimate charities.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be money. You can donate your time, you can donate gifts. If you have a charity that's calling you and they're being very pushy, do not succumb to that because you need to call and check to make sure they're legit," Venello warns.

If you're thinking about giving to a charity this holiday season, to make sure your money is used effectively, you can check out the Better Business Bureau's magazine. Next, look out for fake delivery invoices arriving at your home. Scammers may drop off missed delivery slips and ask you to call or go online and fill out personal data so you can get a package. "Number one if you didn't order anything, I think that gives you the first clue, and number two if they asked you to pay for something a lot of times you've charged it," says Venello.

Looking for old friends to reconnect with this time of year? Watch out, experts say social networking sites are a great way to target you this time of year.

Still looking for a job? The holidays are a perfect time to lure the thousands needing employment to answer more questions than necessary to get an interview.

And while online shopping may be efficient, there's still something to be said for actually seeing the product you're going to buy, much less chance of buying a phony.