Avoid a Blue Christmas this year with some helpful holiday scam tips

YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- With Christmas less than three weeks away, holiday shopping is in full swing this season. Spending money around the holidays also can increase the risk if getting scammed by hackers.

According to AARP holiday scams are often related to shopping, especially online.

Nothing makes you feel like you're having a blue Christmas than dealing with the stress of scammers and potentially not having the gifts you wanted for your loved ones.

Cyber criminals are extra busy during the holidays trying to scam people out of money while trying to get a hold of their personal data.

As online sites push out their seasonal deals AARP says scammers go after bargain hunters with bogus websites.  They say you can find them mostly in fashion, sporting goods, and tech products.

Watch out for Facebook scams, experts say social media is a breeding ground for hackers. One way to avoid them is to disregard ads or promos that seem too good to be true.

Phishing scams through emails also ramp up during the holidays. The biggest ones to look out for are fake Amazon and Apple emails. If you open the email do not click on the link and enter your personal information. Experts say once you do, the hacker will have all of your info. Both companies work to avoid scams so you can always call their customer service if you are suspicious of an email.

Giftcards is another one AARP encourages you to be on the look out for. Once a gift card is purchased the funds on the card often become virtually untraceable. A way to avoid gift card scamming-- don't purchase them online.

Do's and Don'ts to help avoid holiday scams:

  • DO ignore huge discounts from unfamiliar websites
  • DO pay by credit card, so you can dispute charges if scammed
  • DO carefully examine gift cards before purchasing
  • DO reconsider your purchase if they don't have a privacy policy
  • DON'T purchase something online until the URL begins with 'https' or has a padlock key icon in the address bar.

Lastly, save all of your receipts to keep your purchases in order and help you track everything.

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