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`Tis The Season To Be Scammed

Scam season

photo source: www.integrit-network.com

I absolutely love Christmas. Well, who doesn`t? The lights, the cheer, the family time, the presents, the carols… Just thinking about this makes me smile. But you know who gets the most out of Christmas? Scammers.

This is the time of their life. In just one month, they get more money than you could earn in one whole year. And they don`t even have to work for it. They just feed off people`s shopping frenzy and use the “holiday mood” to trick them into buying absolutely useless things… or products that don`t even exist!

For example, a group of scammers in Nigeria pretended to be American dog breeders and promised to deliver puppies on Christmas day… but the puppies never arrived at their new homes. Hundreds of families had their holidays ruined this way: they didn`t see any money back… but they had to watch their kids` disappointment when they discovered Santa forgot to leave a gift under the tree.

Today, a scam like this would probably be considered amateurish. Due to the technology boom and the online shopping gaining popularity, it is much easier to perform a “clean” dirty job. All you need is a computer and Internet access to build a fake business from scratch, without having anyone get suspicious about it. That`s why you need to pay extra attention to what you buy, where you buy it from and who you give your personal data to.

Stacy Johnson, from money.msn.com, has made a list of the 12 most common Christmas scams and I`d like to share them with you. You may never know when it will come in handy to know this:

  • Fake holiday help. Getting a seasonal job can be a great idea. But there are people out there preying on those who need work. Common scams include all manner of work-from-home jobs. If the so-called employer asks for money upfront or your Social Security number, you might be on the verge of becoming a victim rather than an employee.
  • Fake charities. Don’t give money to any charity — even spare change — without checking them out first. And that’s something you can’t do if someone is on your porch, at an intersection, or on the sidewalk asking for money.
  • Fake-check scams. If someone is giving you money, how can you be scammed? The answer involves fake checks. In these instances, buyers want what you’re selling on sites like eBay or Craigslist. Their next step is to offer you a cashier’s check for more than your asking price, on the condition that you return the difference. Weeks later, you are informed by your bank that the check was a phony, and you’re now out your money and your goods.  Avoid cashier’s checks in situations like this and never return any difference in cash.
  • Counterfeit merchandise. In New York and other major cities, it is common to see street vendors selling watches and purses that appear to be high-end, name-brand goods. The modern version of these scams is to sell the merchandise online where the buyer has even less opportunity to inspect it. Beware of items that are priced well below their competitors, and be sure to buy from an authorized retailer.
  • Fake vacation rentals. This growing scam involves people who advertise a property they don’t own. Sometimes the scammer goes to the effort of hijacking the real owner’s email. Other times, the scammers merely show pictures of a place they pretend to represent. You send them money and show up to find you have no place to stay. Solution? Take every possible step to ensure you’re dealing with the true owner of the property, and always pay by credit card, not wire transfer.
  • Non-delivery of stuff bought online. Whether it’s an online store, eBay or Craigslist, this scam is avoided by knowing who the seller is. Be suspicious of deals that seem too good to be true. Fortunately, eBay protects buyers from this scam, and credit card users can request a chargeback if goods are not delivered. Also, keep in mind that Craigslist always recommends conducting transactions in person so that you know exactly what you are receiving.
  • Email scams. Many scams start with email, so be skeptical of anything that shows up in your inbox. Some messages involve references to recent events, such as a natural disaster or the death of a public figure. Others purport to award lottery winnings or the transfer of wealth from a foreign country. Don’t ever respond to unsolicited email.
  • Phishing scams. Here’s how this works: You get an email that appears to be from a legitimate company, like your bank, that insists you log in at their website. You’re then directed to a copycat site that steals your username and password. If you have doubts about an email, don’t reply. Instead, call the company or open up a new browser window and go directly to their website.
  • The “items-off-of-a-truc​k” scam. A friend of mine once paid hundreds of dollars for a stereo system that was barely worth the carton it came in. He was a victim of one of the roving gangs of scammers masquerading as delivery men. They park a truck in a parking lot and offer items for sale at big discounts. At best, the goods will be low-quality knockoffs. At worst, you could be receiving stolen goods.
  • Limited quantities. An unscrupulous online merchant advertises a fantastic product — often cameras or electronics — at an unbeatable price. But when you place your order, you’re told they have limited quantities of that particular item. If the seller demands additional purchases to get the deal, or can’t produce a tracking number within 48 hours of any sale, cancel your order through your credit card company and move on.
  • Bait and switch. This might be the oldest trick in the book, but it still happens. A seller advertises a popular product at a great price. When you attempt to buy it, either online or in person, you’re told the product is sold out, or not as good as a similar model at a higher price. Before you know it, you’re paying more than you intended for something you weren’t planning on buying.
  • Layaway plans. Retailers are bringing back layaway, but sometimes with a catch — not exactly a scam but something to look out for. You have to pay upfront fees and make regular payments. Fail to make the payments, and you could end up losing the fee and paying a “restocking” charge. To avoid feeling scammed by a layaway plan, be sure to closely examine the terms and conditions. And if you can, avoid these plans entirely by saving all year, then paying cash.

One last idea to share with you: people get scammed much easier when they`re too gullible or in a hurry. So this Christmas, take your time when picking gifts and ask for as much information as possible when you decide on something. Google the company to see reviews and don`t give away your data to someone you`re not sure you can trust.

Have a Merry Christmas with your family and friends and God bless you!

By Alec Deacon

4 Responses to `Tis The Season To Be Scammed

  • Thanks, Alec, for the informative article about scammers. As a survivalist, I view all subject areas from a survival perspective, including the purchases as a consumer. And, I really like your myfamilysurvivalplan Website, which I've added to my long list of survivalist sites.

    Happy Holy Days of Advent and Merry Christmas to one and all!

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  • I just watched your scare tactic infomercial & had to laugh at how laden it was with threats. You have less than amateur understanding of economics but must hand it to you, you are an expert in prying dollars out of the wallets of the fearful.

    You are modeling that which you are opposing - create fear & impending scarcity with a seemingly well crafted message - sounds exactly like the mainstream media & the government on a micro scale. Being an opportunist to this degree is disgusting.

    When Y2K was in the forefront, I watched as many like you sold a bill of goods while citing examples of pending doom from "experts". I watched my parents get scammed out of a few thousand dollars for freeze dried food & was appalled.

    Your infomercial has several "better buy now before I take it off the table" messages. Then I look at your own words (above) about scammers:

    "Limited quantities. An unscrupulous online merchant advertises a fantastic product — often cameras or electronics — at an unbeatable price. But when you place your order, you’re told they have limited quantities of that particular item ..."

    Yea, I read the rest of the malarkey but this portion is your pivotal point that creates your oxymoron and or dichotomy.

    People like you care about one thing - how to personally profit off the backs of those who are vulnerable. Here's what you don't get - your underlying tone, the message between the lines & where you are coming from, is based upon a falsehood.

    Twelve years ago I received a masters in an unusual field of communications called neurolinguistics & have been hired as a consultant by several of the Fortune 100 companies, including a couple of big banks. My job was to undo public perception that are being swayed by lies from this uncensored medium. Your message is loud & clear & purely manipulative.

    I would say that you should be ashamed but you wouldn't even get it.

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  • This site is an alternative news source and also touches various aspects of survival and preparedness, as you probably saw while reading it.
    Besides articles I also have a few sponsors that advertise their products and I also promote my first product, "Backyard Liberty", the one that you're probably referring to.

    All these products are handpicked by me and I only allow people to advertise them here because they have good reviews on the internet.

    As for my product, I only want to say that it's 100% legit, no scamming involved, it doesn't cost thousands of dollars and it teaches people "how to fish", rather than giving them a short time fix and then try to refill their supplies.

    If my readers (and customers) will learn at least 10% of every article they read or product they buy I'd be more than happy. Being ignorant has never done anyone any good.

    I am not ashamed of what I'm doing. I'd like to see more people ( and I do see them ) getting educated towards becoming more independent and self-reliant so that in case of emergencies they'll know what to do, help themselves, their families and neighbors and let the authorities help the ones that are incapacitated or too old to help themselves.

    What I say and do doesn't scare people...it wakes them up!

    Regards
    Alec

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  • Alec, Thank you for your work. People like "When Reason Matters" will not see value in what you have to say, until 5 minutes AFTER TSHTF. While we all hope it never will, anyone who has done even a modicum of research knows that a nation that is paying the Mastercard with the Visa is unsustainable. I am ordering your aquaponics course this week. Again, thanks.

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