You’ve heard about how the Grinch stole Christmas, but have you heard about how scamsters stole the credit card numbers of parents wanting a letter from Santa for their kids?
The Better Business Bureau has put out an alert about a letter scam operating just in time for the holiday season.
How the scamsters stole Christmas
Many parents with young kids would love for them to have a letter from Santa. So scamsters are posting on the web with offers to send a personalized Santa letter to your kids. This is also being pitched via email for $19.95.
Now, I should note there are a lot of legitimate businesses working in this same general space too. I’m not talking about those legit players right now…
If you sign up for any of these services — either legit or not — you’ll get the letter. That’s not the scam. The scam is that you have to fill out a form with personal info and your credit card info for the scamsters.
If you hook up with a scam organization, within minutes the thieves will be shopping online as you. In the boldest attempts, the info they steal from you can result in full blown identity theft.
What kind of lowlifes would try to pull this during the holidays?!
The BBB offers the following tips to help you steer clear of the scam websites:
- Ignore calls for immediate action. Many scams try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.
- Hover over links in emails to check their source. Scammers will make links look like something else. Place your mouse over hyper-linked text and the true destination will appear.
- Make sure the site has (real) contact info. If something goes wrong with your order, you need to be able to contact the business. When in doubt confirm the legitimacy of address and phone number.
- Do your research. Check out the business on BBB.org and do a quick web search.
- Make sure you pay through a secure connection. When entering credit card information online, be sure that the URL starts with “HTTPS” and has a lock icon in the browser bar.
- Watch for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails and websites often are riddled with typos. This is often a giveaway that you aren’t dealing with a real business.