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Holiday Scammers Top Santa's Naughty List in 2022

Christmas decorations in shoppingcart, wuestenigel, CC BY 2.0.jpg
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Christmas decorations in shopping cart

The National Retail Federation predicts that U.S. holiday sales this year will approach $950 million. While most of this shopping will be done the old-fashioned way, a growing number of consumers are turning to the internet to buy holiday gifts. Although many online ads and promotions are legitimate, some are not. From phony Secret Santa operations to fake charities to unreal discounts on popular gift items to fake web sites designed to look like major retailers and more, all these scams have one purpose: to steal your money and even your identity.

Not all holiday shopping scams are internet-based. Consumers should be careful about gift cards and only purchase them directly from reputable retailers either online or at the store counter. If you are asked to make a purchase or a donation by gift card, it’s a scam. Also watch out for “porch pirates” who steal packages from your doorstep and even your mailbox. And don’t answer your phone if you don’t recognize the number.

In this story, AARP fraud expert Amy Nofziger offers tips on how to identify and avoid holiday shopping scams.

If you think you’ve been scammed this holiday season, call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360. Or visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov . Report theft from your porch or car to local law enforcement.

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.