Christmas time is supposed to be a time for festive gatherings, reunions, fellowship and more. The problem is this is a time of year many scammers will be out in full force. This year, they are using Facebook to work their way through the system. Undoubtedly, if you have been on Facebook recently, you have seen pages pop up to do gift exchanges. Sounds fun, right? Problem is these are effectively pyramid schemes.

Gift exchanges are popular around the holiday season, but you should always be skeptical of scams that come along your feed. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true. If it is, then avoid it. This News 9 story breaks down the gift exchange scam is greater detail, but be very careful to ensure you don’t fall into this scam or others.

Scams like this don’t just stay on Facebook. You can find them lurking on Twitter, LinkedIn, and even popular forums people go to for gift ideas. Many scammers will take advantage of the holiday season to bring in more money and addresses, but you should always be aware of your online environment. This won’t be the last time these scammers will cultivate a scam of this level. After Christmas, there will be new scam. After the new year, a new one will arise. The system will continue, but if you are cognizant of your online surroundings and use wise discernment, you can safeguard your identity and keep your privacy safe.

Other Scams to be Aware of

Gift exchange scams are one scam that is prevalent this time of year, but there are others that you should be aware of.

  • Phone Scams. The holidays are the perfect time to prey on the giving nature of people. Don’t be surprised to be solicited at least once this holiday season. If you get a call from people from an unknown or never-heard-of charity, it is better to just hang up the phone. ¬†Always stay skeptical when receiving calls from an unknown person or phone number. It is better to always remain cautious in order to combat scams.
  • Investing Fraud. Many of these scams will take place in direct mail, due to the fact that there are a lot of resources to track addresses online. Be careful with these types of scams because the idea is to focus on the year-end bonuses many people typically receive. If you have a financial planner, it is always best to obtain the advice of a professional investment advisor.
  • Event Ticketing Scams. Even though these scams are not as prevalent as in year’s past, they do still exist. Ticket scams are common this time of year because of numerous events during the holiday season. Whether it is concerts, sporting events, or plays, ticket scams are popular because there is just enough of a demand for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Be prepared for online solicitations, social media or mail-to-mail communication. Always buy from a trusted retailer or reputable company.

As you continue through this holiday season, be sure to watch out for these scams and others that may be apparent. The best defense against these scams is to remain diligent in identifying these scams. If you are ever in doubt, call your local law enforcement or contact the BBB.