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'Tis the Season For Some Really Big Scams

Here's hoping all your packages make it to you.
Here's hoping all your packages make it to you.
Photo by Margaret Downing

Well it's winter holiday time and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan wants you to know that with all those wonderful deals out there, you should be aware that this is also prime time for vultures to swoop in on their prey (AKA: you).

Relying on the expertise of Cecilia Longoria,managing attorney for the Disability an dElder Law Paractice Group in the county attorney's office, Ryan send out a list of popular scamming enterprises in full swing at the end of 2019.

First there's an email that offers a free letter from Santa. Maybe you think this is a great idea for your kid. But alas what they are really doing is mining for your personal information or getting you to download malicious software. Yeah there are some legit organizations that offer Santa letters out there. But better be sure who you are dealing with.

Don't buy a fake gift card. When you buy them they should be unopened and not tampered with. It goes without saying that you are probably safest in buying them from a reputable retailer.

Make sure you don't stumble into and become ensnared in a bogus website whose url may just be a letter or two off from the one you meant to land on.

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Don't jump to click on every holiday E-card that comes your way. Some are just a way for crooks to get money or info from you.

If you are asked to pay for something with a prepaid debit card, a gift card, wire transfer or some other unusual form of payment, run like the wind — in the other direction.  These kind of payments can't be traced or undone and you are stuck. Although you've made the bad guys very happy.

Finally be aware that scammers are waiting for your packages and may get to them before you do if you are away from home and even if you are a fortress of Ring cameras.  A variation on the theme is that some may take your package, then contact you to have it re-delivered and request payment and personal info to do so. Don't give them money and don't give that out. Or they may reach out to you by email. Don't click. Instead go back to the vendor you purchased the item form and track your package through there.

Finally, if something like this did occur, contact your local police department or call the county attorney's office at 713-755-5101. 

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