Be merry, but do not be scammed this holiday season

Holiday scams are often variations of the scams that occur throughout the year.

Christmas is a time for family, friends and gift giving, but sadly, there are scammers looking to ruin your holiday fun by trying to make you their next target.

“We want everyone to have a happy holiday season, but we also need to be on alert for scams and warn residents of their tactics,” Director Robert M. Damminger said.

Holiday scams are often variations of the scams that occur throughout the year. However, with the hectic and rushed activity around the holidays and with more people buying online, especially those who are not internet savvy, there is a greater risk of losing money.

Typical seasonal scams include:

  1. Gift Card Scams
    When purchasing a gift card, make sure the card hasn’t been tampered with and that the value hasn’t been drained from the card. Never buy a gift card from a third-party website and beware of anyone who demands payment by a gift card.

2. Donation Scams
Donation scams rely on phony websites that look like the real thing. Like the fake websites, be careful before clicking on any link that looks suspicious.

3. Travel Scams
Everybody likes to go on a vacation, but if a travel offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you have just “won” a vacation but must pay a fee to redeem the winnings, watch out.

4. Fake Holiday Ecards
These could contain viruses, so make sure you don’t open any that you aren’t expecting and don’t provide any personal information to open these cards.

“The holidays are a hectic time. Make sure you take the time to ensure that each transaction, email or donation is safe and secure,” Commissioner Lyman Barnes said.

If you suspect you have been victim to a scam, please contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at njconsumeraffairs.gov.