Beware The Top 9 Scams Of The 2016 Holiday Season

This is the week all those packages are showing up on our doorsteps, and scammers know that.

They are targeting our doorsteps, our email inboxes, our Facebook feeds and even our phones. Sandra Guile of the Better Business Bureau says delivery deception tops the biggest holiday scams of 2016.

2016’s top holiday scams:

The BBB’s list includes:

1. Fake Amazon, FedEx or UPS delivery notices

They show up in your email, and claim you have a package waiting, or a problem with your delivery.

“The message will typically say we tried to deliver a package to you, and we were unable to,” Guile said. If you were not expecting a package, she says never click on any link in the email.

Even if you are expecting a delivery, she says you need to be very suspicious, and check the URL of the email sender to make sure they are really that business.

2. Porch pirates

Porch pirates are thieves who grab packages outside homes, often minutes after delivery.

“There are people out there who are watching those delivery trucks,” Guile said. “And they will follow them into your neighborhood and take them off your front porch before you have a chance to bring them in.”

3. The puppy scam

In this scam, a Craigslist seller wants you to pay shipping for Christmas puppies that don’t exist. The puppies are supposedly in Los Angeles or somewhere else where you need to wire $500 to have them shipped and insured.

4. Fake apps from department stores.

These apps can hijack your phone. Make sure you are downloading the store’s real app from either their website, iTunes or Google Play.

5. The Secret Sister Gift Exchange on Facebook

Supposedly if you buy a gif for someone (ie: send money), eight people will send you gifts in return (ie: money). They won’t.

6. Phony mystery shopper jobs

These scams claim they’ll send you a check for $3,000 to “test” Money Gram counters at Walmart or other stores. The check will bounce, and you will lose hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

7. Bogus government grants

The government is not handing out grants, especially via a message on Facebook. The “agent” who contacts you is a scammer. And if one of your best friends says they got a grant and you can too, chances are that your friend’s Facebook page was hacked.

8. Phony e-cards  

This is one of the oldest internet scams, going back to the late 1990s. Be careful downloading any e-card. Better yet, ask your friend if they really sent you one.

9. Email letters from Santa

These letters can be stuffed with malware. Only open one if you know a relative sent your child one.

Sandra Guile says it’s so easy to click and get scammed this time of year, because we are all so busy, and not paying close attention.

“They are going to really hit hard and heavy this week, because you are not paying attention like you normally do,” she said.

So be skeptical of email messages and Facebook offers and invites this week, so you don’t fall victim to a scam and you don’t waste your money.


“Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”). The information included in this article was obtained independently by Scripps reporters. While purchases from links inserted in this article may result in a commission for Scripps, no Scripps reporter benefited from that commission.

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John Matarese

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