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While Christmas is a joyful time, unfortunately the scammers are out in full force so here are 5 scams to watch out for this holiday season.

I absolutely love this time of year. Throughout Fort Myers, there’s just something about the lights, the sights, the sounds, the feeling in the air…but the downfall is that scammers are feeling festive too. It happens every year that we hear of more and more scams that people are falling for during the holiday season. It could be that the holiday spirit can have people feeling more generous and open-handed. Also the increased volume of online shopping provides scammers with more opportunities to deceive the unsuspecting. There’s pressure to find the perfect gifts or get in on last-minute deals that can people to lower their guard. While they can happen in person, the majority are happening online. They could be in the form of social media, a phishing email, fake charities and more. Thanks to the Better Business Bureau, we want to help you be aware of scams taking place before very eyes. To see the full list, click here. Chances are, you may have already come across one of these. I know I have!

5 Scams To Watch Out For This Holiday Season

  • 1. Social Media Gift Exhanges

    This is one I see all over Facebook. Those asking for others to be a part of a book/pet toy/whiskey/etc exchange. Where you get on a list and send (insert item here) and then gifts get sent to you after you post it. There’s another I’ve seen where you put your info on a list and those involved pick a name and “pay it forward”. Yes, both seem fun and harmless, however scammers love these. Why? Because you’re sharing your personal information, along with those of their family members and friends, and are tricked into buying and shipping gifts to people you don’t know. It’s an illegal pyramid scheme. Don’t fall for it.

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  • 2. Puppy Scams

    This one always makes me so sad, because it’s so innocent. It happens ALL the time though, so don’t let it happen to you. A new puppy could make for a great gift during the holidays. However, turning to the internet, particularly social media, isn’t the smart way to go. Experts say 80% of pet ads online may be fake. NEVER send money to anyone without seeing the pet in person first. Better yet, go to a local shelter or rescue and adopt a furry friend. 

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  • 3. Fake Shipping Notifications

    You may have seen one of these already. I got one the other day in fact that looked VERY much like a UPS notification. Scammers love sending these fake emails out that have you click to see when your order might be delivered or to make a change on a delivery (there’s many ways they do it). The links may give unwanted access to your private information or download malware onto your phone/computer.

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  • 4. Fake Charities

    This time of year, people are feeling generous, but the scammers are ready to take full advantage of that. If you’re looking to donate to a charity, make sure if you’re not familiar with the charity, that you do your research before handing money over. You can verify that the charity is legit at Give.org. The BBB also recommends donating to a charity through their website using a credit card.

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  • 5. Misleading Social Media Ads

    How many times have you been scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, have seen something super cute, but from a place you’ve never heard of? Well, not all of those online shops are legit. You always want to research before you buy. Not only could you end up paying for something you’ll never get, but you could get stuck being charged a monthly fee for a “free trial” you never signed up for. Products could also be counterfeit or look nothing like what you saw in the ad. Read reviews and check BBB.com to see if the business is in good standing. 

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