Beware Of The Santa Scam: There’s Nothing Holly Jolly About Identity Theft

Imagine the look in your child’s eye when they open one last gift on Christmas morning. This one isn’t a toy car, a baby doll, or some electronic, it’s a handwritten letter from everyone’s favorite big guy, Santa. But for every legitimate company that offers to send “Santa letters” or provide calls from Jolly Ol’ St. Nick, there’s bound to be another that just wants to Scrooge you out of your money — or worse. 

Our colleagues at Consumer Reports issued a warning this week, reminding last-minute gift buyers of the dangers of the Santa scam.

The scheme often gets rolling with an unsolicited email promising to connect the gift-giver with a customized letter from Santa or a phone call, and an “official” certification that the recipient is on his “nice” list.

Santa scams can then take on two different approaches: asking the buyer to provide their credit card information to complete the order or submitting loads of personal information when the service is considered “free.”

CR warns that the best-case scenario involves a scammy site simply taking your money without providing the promised letter, while the worst-case includes identity theft and depleted bank accounts.

To ensure that you don’t fall for a Santa scam, the experts at CR suggest following these tips:

• Ignore calls for immediate action. Many scams try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency.

• Look before you link. Hover the mouse over the email link to check the source. Scammers make the link look real but the true destination will be revealed on the lower left corner of your email screen.

• Confirm the contact information. You can do a quick search at the Better Business Bureau.

• Pay through a secure connection. Before you enter your credit card information, be sure the URL starts with “https”—the “s” stands for “secure”—and has a lock icon in the browser bar.

• Check grammar and spelling. Typos and bad grammar are a clue that you have landed on a scam website.

Santa Scam Is Coming to Town [Consumer Reports]

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