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5 Common & Despicable Holiday Season Scams

With the holidays upon us and the start of a new year, it's only natural for scammers to start coming out of the wood work. This means more robbers, scammers and thieves trying to take advantage of the busy season and profiting off of scamming both customers and businesses every chance they get.

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1 – Counterfeit Money

In Kentucky, two people were arrested for a scam they were pulling by shopping in the St. Matthews Mall with fake money and then going back to stores and receiving real money in return for the items they had bought with counterfeit bills. The Police records showed that they had 9 fake $100 bills and 2 counterfeit $50 bills on them. And that's just a single case of many hitting the news recently...

Oklahoma City woman claims she received counterfeit money after cashing her check

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Unfortunately, the video embeds from these news sites aren't supported. So here are a few examples of recent counterfeit cases:

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/27664735/englewood-men-accused-of-counterfeiting-money

http://www.wdrb.com/story/27650072/police-pair-used-counterfeit-bills-to-shop-at-mall-st-matthews

http://kfor.com/2014/12/03/oklahoma-city-walmart-gives-customer-fake-money/

http://www.wkow.com/story/27665105/2014/12/18/fake-100-bills-passed-to-businesses-in-monroe

To help prevent this, stores can examine money for signs of counterfeit and use counterfeit money detectors to check money on the spot.

2- Phishing Schemes

They're a real problem during the holiday shopping season! According to the BBB, scammers send out e-mails posing them to look like they are from a site like Amazon.com with titles such as "Your order on Amazon.com" and pictures from Amazon's logos so it looks legitimate. When you click on this it can install a virus into your computer stealing all your information.

Don't Get Hooked (By Phishing Scams)

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... And four more videos & recent cases of heartless, low-lives trying to get your personal information:

http://www.abcactionnews.com/money/consumer/taking-action-for-you/the-fbi-is-warning-holiday-shoppers-about-phishing-scams-that-are-easy-to-fall-for

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/SCAM-ALERT-Package-problem-emails-are-phishing-scams-286648791.html

http://www.wbtv.com/story/27596106/phishing-scams-still-work-despite-warnings

http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/Costco-Customers-Targeted-In-Phishing-Scam-237382601.html

To avoid being caught in phishing schemes like this it's best not to open attachments from major retail sites so you aren't at a risk of having your information stolen. In most normal cases, an Amazon.com e-mail can usually be confirmed by logging into your account on their website so it pays to think twice about emails asking to open attachments.

Take this interactive quiz to see if YOU can spot the phishing scam or not!

3 – Store Robbery

This one goes out to store owners and is pretty common, even year round, but it can pay to keep an eye out on this. Old school store theft can be a common method for criminals to make profits off of places like retail stores, convenience stores and supermarkets. Even if it is one of the oldest robbing methods in the book, people still do it and stores get broken into on a regular basis.

Ho! Ho! Hold Up!

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And again, four more!

http://www.newson6.com/story/27646049/tulsa-police-string-of-east-tulsa-robberies-possibly-connected

http://www.wsmv.com/story/27652291/police-investigating-string-of-robberies-in-la-vergne-antioch

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/12/19/police-investigating-series-of-robberies-caught-on-tape-in-north-philly/

http://www.koat.com/news/intense-video-shows-smiths-robberies/30294886

Along with the usual security systems, it is recommended to have electronic safes and cash boxes to store your value and prevent any big thefts. While having no robbery is obviously preferred, it can help to also keep valuables locked up extra securely in case a robbery does happen.

4 – Mystery Shopping Scams

Mystery shopping scams have been a big scam going on during the holiday season in 2014 and likely throughout 2015 as well. These scammers profit off of people out of work by offering jobs that in the case of these scams turn out to be fake. To make money they try to get people to cash in fake checks and get money sent back to them. Luckily in many cases the bank and people realize that it is actually a scam.

Secret Shoppper Scam Back in Force

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Consumer Alert: Mystery Shopper Job Scam

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True Scams: Stories of Fraud

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Beware Mystery Shopper Scam!

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Be careful about accepting job offers when you don't know who exactly it is from. Cross-reference where these job employers are located out of and if they are running a legitimate business before ever thinking about doing business with them. If it seems too good to be true, it is - and you'll be the one held responsible in the end.

5 – Absurd Deals

This one you'd think would be obvious and can even be funny (though not to anyone that falls for it) - but watch out for obviously fake scams giving deals such as 95% off of TV sets! This one is similar to the phishing scam but it is another reason you have to be proactive when it comes to shopping safely.

With these outrageous deals, hackers may try to get you to type in credit card information or make an account on their website - which isn't actually the big entertainment company, but fake knockoffs looking to steal your personal information.

With all this in mind it pays to use common sense and be careful about deals that look too good to be true. At the same time, there still can be solid deals out there and if we just take the time to look and think twice, it's usually not too hard to figure out what is legitimate or not.

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