New Scam Lures Consumers with Letters from Santa

You might want to do something extra special for the kiddos this Christmas, but you need to make sure to stay aware of fraudsters looking to make a quick buck. The Better Business Bureau released a warning that scammers are sending out emails claiming to be selling handwritten letters from Santa that you can purchase for your child.

The email is entitled “Handwritten Letter from Santa to Your Child,” and is sold as part of a special package for for $19.99. Once you click on the link within the email, you’re taken to a website that says the package features a “nice-list” certification and a custom letter from Santa, complete with free shipping. Clicking on the link could spell trouble, since you’ll be sharing your personal financial information and credit card number with crooks.

The BBB cites another version of the scam, which promises consumers a free letter from Santa. The email requests personal information such as your full name, address and phone number. The bureau warns that these sites could possibly sell your personal information to identity thieves.

The BBB shares the following tips for spotting a scam website:

Don’t respond to calls for immediate action. Most scams will try to convince you to take action before you’re able to think your decision through by creating a sense of urgency.

Hover over links in emails to verify their source. The BBB says scammers will attempt to make links look like something else.  Says the BBB,” place your mouse over hyper-linked text and the true destination will appear.”

Make payments through a secure connection. When entering credit card information online, check that the URL starts with “HTTPS” and has a lock icon in the browser bar.

Be on the lookout for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails and websites often have typos. This is often an indication that you are dealing with a fake business.

For more on this topic, see Beware of Court Email Scam.