According to an article by the Associated Press, "It's the most wonderful time of the year for scam artists".
Unfortunately, "opportunities to be swindled abound during the holiday season" as shoppers try to buy the hottest new product or try to show their generosity.
Here are some of the common scams that the U.S. Better Business Bureau warns shoppers to watch for:
Fake Shopping Sites
If at a site that you have never heard of has prices for products that are too good to be true, do some homework before entering any credit card information. Otherwise, you may pay for a great deal on-line but may never receive the item.
Bogus Charity Pleas
Although many legitimate charities solicit for donations during this time of year, scammers likewise solicit for their own profit. Be sure that the organization is familiar to you and how it requests funds.
The Canada Revenue Agency maintains a searchable list of Canadian charities. Click here to go to the list.
You can use the list to:
- confirm whether a charity is registered under the Income Tax Act and is therefore eligible to issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes;
- view a charity's information return;
- learn more about a charity's financial information;
- learn more about the activities of a registered charity; and
- find out how to contact a charity
The Canada Revenue Agency also explains why you may not find a specific registered charity in the Charities Listings and what you should do to followup on the charity of interest. Click here to find this information.
Watch your belongings if carrying multiple shopping bags. The loss of your credit or debit card can lead to "the prolonged headache of identity theft". Be sure that your wallet is located in a secure place before heading out.
Keep Your Pin Number Confidential
Banks recommend that you cover or block the view if entering your pin number when making a purchase. Do not give scammers any opportunity to obtain your personal pin number.
CBC News recently aired an interesting story on the "12 Scams of Christmas". To view this list, click here.
For more information, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue by subject. Recommended subjects are: Fraud and/or Swindlers and swindling.
In summary, don't allow scammers to ruin your holiday season by relieving you of your hard earned money.