Top 5 scams that steal your holiday shopping money

Unfortunately for every person that does a good deed this holiday season, there’s a scammer ready to take your money.

To cut them off before they strike we asked the experts about the top scams that tend to plague our area this time of year.

What to watch out for in this 7 News scam watch.
1. Lottery Scams

They happen all year long, but people are more susceptible this time of year because they are desperate for Christmas money, and scammers know that.

For the last 10 months Latiffany Smith in Greenville has been saving up Christmas money for her three kids. In just two days she was conned out of all of it and more by a bogus Publisher’s Clearing House Lottery. Since had entered the real drawing, so scammers easily convinced her to wire money several “fees” totaling $1900.  She had no idea real lotteries will not make you pay upfront fees.

“I’m like this little chump change, compared to what I’m going to get, I’m not too worried because they’ll be alright for Christmas, we’ll be alright for the rest of our lives, that’s how I was thinking, but I got got,” she said as tears rolled down her face.

2. Bogus Jobs

The Better Business Bureau says those phone scams are rampant right now, but the biggest scams around the holidays are fake jobs, like Mystery Shoppers. You get a check that bounces only after you’ve sent back your own money.

“It was huge, and unfortunately it pops up every year, but it goes away for long enough that it’s not top of mind so people are optimistic during the holidays and believe that these are actually representatives of Walmart or another big store,” said Courtney Beaty with the BBB.

3. Fake Retail Sites

She also warns, links to bogus retail sites, that mirror actual shopping sites are all over social media right now. She showed us a fake Oakley Sunglasses site with alluring sale prices. The scammers are hoping you’ll give up your financial information.

To protect yourself always verify the domain, and check for the HTTPS, for secure checkout.

4. Puppy Scams

Also, watch out for online puppy scams right now. Those adorable photos may be stock images stolen from other sites. Before you pay for that prized Christmas gift drag the photos into “Google Images” to see their true origin.

5. Charity Scams

Finally, watch out for charity scams. Always check with places like Charity Navigator or the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance to make sure the charity is legitimate and doesn’t give too much of your donations to overhead.

Smith, installed an app to help detect scam calls. And she is sharing her story, hoping nobody else will become a scam victim for the holidays.

“I don’t want no other mother to have to feel like I’m feeling right now trying make something happen for my kids Christmas,” she said.

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