DALLAS, Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Anyone buying gifts, giving to charity or trying to make extra cash is a prime target for scam artists this holiday season. That's why the Scam Awareness Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to educating consumers about financial fraud, is issuing a warning about three popular scams that typically increase during this time each year.
"The Scam Awareness Alliance works year-round to help spread the word about common scams and prevent future victims," said Juan Agualimpia, executive vice president of the Scam Awareness Alliance. "I hope all consumers will use the Scam Awareness Alliance as a resource this holiday season and spread the word about these common scams to family and friends. Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we are working to educate consumers before that happens."
Online and Mobile Shopping
This season, almost half of holiday shopping will be done online and nearly 25 percent of purchases will be made on smartphones.** Scam artists will try to get their cut of that cash by soliciting customers through fake websites, social media sites or email. They'll offer popular merchandise or gift cards at a deep discount and ask for payment through a money order or money transfer but never send the item.
Tip: Never send money to someone you don't know. If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Traditionally the end of the year is a prime time for people to donate to charity. Scammers will take advantage of this outpouring of goodwill by creating a new charity or misusing the name and branding of a well-known charity to get donations sent directly to them.
Tip: Before donating, verify the charity is legitimate and always use a check or credit card instead of cash or a wire transfer for a donation.
People looking to earn extra money for holiday shopping often sign up for a work–at-home or mystery shopper job. In the case of a scam, the employee's new "boss" asks for a wire transfer or money order for a start-up kit.
Tip: Never pay money to earn money. Consumers should carefully research the job posting and individuals or company contacting you for employment.
Consumers can learn more about how to protect themselves from these and other common scams at scamawareness.org.
* Financial Fraud Research Center
**National Retail Federation 2015 l purchase
About The Scam Awareness Alliance
The Scam Awareness Alliance was founded by MoneyGram International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI) to raise awareness of common scams that target consumers. The Alliance provides tips and information that teach people to recognize the "red flags" that may indicate potential scams, and arm them with information that they can use to protect themselves and their loved ones. One of the ways the Alliance raises awareness of scams is through a series of public service announcements. These ads air on stations across the country and depict common scams; helping everyday Americans recognize the "red flags."
SOURCE The Scam Awareness Alliance