MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) — The holiday season is a time when people give to others, but it’s also a time when scammers are active and look to take from others.
Scammers have been working extra hours this season to swindle shoppers out of money.
“Scammers, they have no shame,” director of communications for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) Bailey Parker said.
Many of us are wrapped up in our last-minute shopping surges, but that doesn’t mean risks aren’t lurking.
“Scammers follow the headlines,” Parker said. “That is what they do, because they know that it’s on the top of people’s minds. So, right now they know people are buying gifts.”
One of scammers most common methods of scamming is through the use of prepaid gift cards.
“One of the biggest red flags is when they want you to make a donation or make a payment with some type of iTunes or some type of prepaid card,” Better Business Bureau (BBB) president Chris Hadley said.
Parker explained why scammers prefer gift cards.
“It’s like cash,” she said. “Once you give that scammer the gift card information, it’s theirs, you’re not going to see that money.”
The BBB and SCDCA say people of all ages must be aware, because scammers target everyone.
“It’s a common misconception that older adults most often the victims of scams,” Parker said. “Studies are showing and numbers are showing that millennials are actually the ones that are getting scammed more often.”
Parker says the best way to prevent falling victim to a scam is to be proactive.
“Be your number one advocate,” she said. “Call the companies you work for and the banks you work for, ask them what they’re doing to keep your information safe.”
The BBB and SCDCA both have multiple resources online regarding scams and scam prevention. They also wanted to remind shoppers that if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.