Beware these 5 holiday scams
Among them: Charitable giving can be jolly or folly, depending on whom you give to.
The holidays are a time for gift giving and gestures of good will -- which makes them the perfect time of year for scammers. When better to be selfish than in the season of selflessness?
There are lots of rip-offs out there, especially online, from fake charities to knockoff merchandise sold at "bargain" prices. If you're not careful, you can go from good Samaritan to victim in a blink of an eye, or the click of a mouse.
Check out the video below, then meet me on the other side for more.
Here's a little more detail on five of the worst scams to watch for this year:
Solution: If you get a text message from any company, including your cell phone provider, asking for personal details, don't call the number they provide. Contact the company directly and find out what's up. For example, if the text concerns your credit card, call the number on the back of your card. Avoid using any contact information included in the text message.
Be especially wary of door-to-door solicitors asking for cash donations, and never be pressured to "act now." Simply tell the person at your door that you never donate without thoroughly investigating a charity -- you'll look them up, and should you decide they're a good cause, you'll send a check.
Solution: If anyone sends you a check for the wrong amount, ask for a corrected one. Don't offer to return the difference, and avoid wire transfers, which have few safeguards or assurances if something goes wrong. Best bet? Don't accept checks at all: Use payment services like PayPal.
Solution: Be skeptical of independent sellers on sites like Craigslist, and check things out before you buy any pet online. And most important: Why would you pay for a puppy or kitten when dozens are waiting for you at your local animal shelter? Save some money while you save a cute and innocent life.
Solution: Buy only from trusted websites or from sellers who will show you the merchandise first, or otherwise provide evidence that it's legitimate.
While avoiding holiday scams may not be easy, it is simple. Deal only with merchants and people who are verifiable and legitimate, and think twice before handing either money or personal information to anyone.
And if all this advice is obvious to you, it isn't to someone you care about, such as an elderly friend or relative. If you're confident you're scam-proof, reach out to those around you who might not be so lucky.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'