Don't be victim of holiday fraud and scams - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Don't be victim of holiday fraud and scams

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With a good heart and the best of intentions, you get out there looking for those perfect Christmas presents, hardly in a frame of mind to fret about people ripping you off. 

It is a threat, especially this time of year.

The most important thing, when you're looking into any type of offer or contest, whether its online or over the phone, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Financial crimes detectives say you should monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements very closely this time of year. If you notice something is wrong, you can catch it early and potentially save yourself a lot of heartache.

Another tip, don't send anyone money, especially if you don't know the person. Lastly, don't give out any personal information over the phone or on those pop up websites. 

While new technology can make your shopping experience more efficient--it also can make you an easier target. "I've been doing this now for 20 years, and it's increased five fold with the technology today," said financial crimes detective Ray Woodberry. "The technology makes it easy for us, convenient for us. But it also makes it easy and convenient for the scam artist to rip you off."

One common scam to be aware of: the Grandparents Scam.

Criminals will monotor your Facebook accounts and check to see if you post about an extended trip. They will then track down grandparents or elderly family members and impersonate you needing money.

Another scam to keep on your radar: the Sweepstakes Scam.

They will say you've won a sweepstakes and send you money in the mail. But they tell you that's part of a processing fee or an advane and if you give them you bank account they will put the rest in there for you. In reality, they will be stealing money from your account.

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