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How Not To Fall Victim Holiday Thieves And Scams

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					The holidays bring joy and a sense of well-being for most people. With the numerous
parties, activities, family get-togethers, and holiday shopping, you may find that you
are very busy and may not pay attention to potential scams and rip-offs. Here are
some tips that will keep you and your money safe during the holidays:
  Pickpocketing
  While shopping for the many gifts you intend to give this year, pay careful attention
to the presence of pickpockets. Keep you money in a front pocket rather than in your
back pocket. If you carry a purse, make sure you hold it close to your body rather than
holding it by the strap and letting it swing as you walk. Crafty pickpockets who often
work as a team steal millions of dollars each year. One will distract the victim while
the other slips in and take the victim's money. Protect yourself and your wallet at all
times. Do not be fooled into thinking that since you are shopping at an upscale, safe
location that you will not become the victim of a pickpocket.
  Online Shopping Scams
  Beware of online scams. During the holidays there are many web sites that offer
incredible deals on various merchandise, travel specials, and a number of other
seemingly 'perfect' opportunities. Be very careful about what you purchase online and
from whom you make purchases. If you are careless in your online shopping habits,
you may find that your merchandise never arrives as promised, the deal you thought
you were purchasing is non-existent, or that not only does your order arrive after the
holidays are over, but when it does arrive the merchandise only vaguely resembles
that pictured on the web site, if there is any similarity at all.
  Credit Card Companies
  Beware of credit card companies that increase your spending limit immediately
before the holiday shopping season begins. Each purchase you make will accrue
interest, increasing the overall amounts you will spend the items you buy. Also do not
make the mistake of accepting offers from your credit card company to skip your
payment until after the New Year. The interest you owe will still accrue and you will
end up owing more than you did initially. Also, be very cautious about making online
purchases during the holiday season. While most merchants are reputable, there are
some that will put up a web site with the express intent of obtaining credit card and
debit card numbers for fraudulent purposes.
  Telemarketing Scams
  Telemarketing scams seem to increase during the holidays. Never give your personal
information or credit card number to an unsolicited caller. Millions are stolen each
year during the holidays due to telemarketing scams that entice consumers to make
purchases immediately. If a telemarketer tells you that the incredible offer they are
giving you will only be available for the next 10 minutes, hang up immediately. You
should also be very careful when making purchases from door-to-door salesmen. Not
only could you have your personal information used in a fraudulent manner, you
could risk your safety by allowing strangers into your home.
  Charity Scams
  Beware of mail and calls from charities that you have never heard of. Many people
have fallen victim to a charity scam that solicits money form unsuspecting consumers.
The charity promises that your tax-deductible gift will go to help the underprivileged,
starving children, victims of natural disasters, etc. Most charities are reputable, but
stay away from any charity solicitation that is from an organization you have never
seen before.
  Wrapping Paper Station Scam
  Also, beware of wrapping paper station scams. Wrapping paper stations can seem
like a great idea, but in reality you can purchase and wrap everything you need for
significantly less money. However, if you do decide to use a wrapping paper station
make sure you're present at all times while your gift is being wrapped. Do not leave
your gifts at the station and come back later to pick them up. The time you may save
is not worth the extra expense and you may find out later that the gifts you bought
were not the gifts you paid to have wrapped.
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posted:2/11/2011
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