Top 5 scams to watch out for over the holidays

(AP Graphic)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The holiday season is here, and the Grinch is coming for your cash, but most scams are avoidable.

Here are the top five holiday scams on Santa’s naught list:

Package delivery email scam

Expecting a gift? You’ve just been notified via email that it is on the way. Emails from companies we know—UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service—say something like “click here for delivery information.” But the scam emails have a link that instead it puts a virus right into your computer. All your personal data is no longer yours.

Holiday e-card scam

You may get an electronic card from a relative—how nice. But be careful. The holiday e-card scam is not new, but it’s as lethal as ever for identity thieves. When you click the link to view the greetings card, you’ve unleashed spyware, pop-up ads, virsus, Trojans… you name it. It’s best to assume the worst.

Black Friday shopping deals

Black Friday is here, and so are the deals as companies compete for your hard earned money. Scammers know this all too well, and this is scary. A deal pops up in the email, you are interested, you click on the link, and you go right to the stores sight and it looks legit. But it might be. Thieves are building complete replicas of your favorite retail websites. Every link is there to steal your information. It’s best to go straight to the retailer’s website yourself instead of through an email.

Charity scams for fake donations

Scammers harp on the opportunity to take advantage of your urge to give. They pose as your favorite charity as the season to donate comes along. If you receive an email asking for a donation, it’s best to be skeptical. Like scam retail websites, go straight to the charity’s website yourself instead of through an email.

Gift cards

Gift cards— the new currency of the holidays and the easy gift to give the hard to shop for. Most cards are protected by a security code under a scratch-off cover. But if the card isn’t protected, scammers will take down the number in stores and repeatedly check the balance via an 800 number until it’s purchased. Once activated, scammers go drain the card before the gift recipient even has a chance to hit the store, and you are out of luck. Always make sure the card you’re buying has the scratch-off protection or come packaged in a way that prevents scammers from getting the card’s number.