’Tis the season for holiday scams
by Shaka S. Lias
Nov 24, 2010 | 2090 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shopping season has arrived and while consumers are busy making their shopping list others are busy making a list of ways to scam.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that shoppers be on the lookout for five common scams this holiday season including shopping online, bogus charitable pleas, phishing e-mails, finding toys and gadgets online and identity theft at the mall.

Capt. Frank Cline with the Cartersville Police Department adds to that list. One of typical scams he sees during the holiday period is the "found cash."

Cline explains that someone says they found a certain amount of cash and ask you to deposit it your account and they will split it with you.

Cline advises citizens to be aware and use good judgment.

"The best thing is if you get approached with something that sound too good to be true, it probably is," Cline said.

"Leave it alone," he advises.

Cline said there will be no increase in patrolling during the holiday season, however they will increase their presence in shopping areas and downtown.

"We are limited to the number of patrols we have," he said.

Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap said it's unfortunate, but criminals take advantage of Christmas times.

Entering automobiles is one that is common, Millsap said.

He said because shoppers don't want to take their gifts inside, fearing kids will see them and they leave them in the car.

"Please don't leave in vehicle, put in trunk or at a friend's house," he said.

He said residential burglaries are also up during the holiday season.

Criminals see gifts wrapped under trees and take advantage of it.

Millsap suggest wrapping empty boxes. "They have the same affect," he said.

Millsap warns also to be careful with phone scammers posing as law enforcers or Salvation Army asking for money or an account number.

"When they get your account number they got you," Millsap said.

He suggest asking for verification information.

"Chances are they will hang up," he said.

With Black Friday approaching this week he advises shoppers to be careful of their surroundings.

Millsap said be careful of papers stuck on your windshield. He said most times people don't notice the paper until they have gotten in the car then they get out to take the paper off while the keys are still in the car. Millsap said this gives robbers an opportunity to attack you and take the car.

He said it's important to utilize the mall lighting and walk in groups.

He said to be safe and know that if something doesn't sound right, it probably isn't.