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Transcript: Avoiding Holiday Scams

Standup Intro: While scam artists practice their craft all year long, the holiday season is when many are most active. Fake charities, counterfeit gifts -- the list goes on and on. Bankrate.com is here with some tips to avoid being a victim.

Voice over 1: This is the time of year for giving. But the last thing you want to do is to make it a happy holiday for a scam artist. Here are a few of this year's most popular scams.

Voice over 2: Star-naming. If you're considering naming a star for a heavenly body in your household, beware. There are lots of sites out there that claim they can name a star for you, for prices ranging from 25 to 50 bucks. They can't -- not officially at least. If you like the idea, pick one and make your own certificate.

Voice over 3: There are plenty of genuine charities out there: Don't give money to a fake. Never, ever give anyone a dime or your personal information without thoroughly checking them out. Especially if they come to your door, or call you on the phone.

Voice over 4: Selling anything on the Internet or elsewhere? Be aware of the fake check scam. Someone sends you a cashier's check for more than the amount of a purchase, and asks you to wire the excess. The check could be counterfeit and it may take weeks before your bank catches it.

Voice over 5: Buying a puppy long-distance? Don't even think of sending money until you've personally seen the animal. It could be sick or nonexistent. And no reputable breeder would ever sell a dog without meeting you first.

Voice over 6: And if you're buying anything expensive online, beware of counterfeits. It's a $6 billion business, and a lot of it's happening online.

Standup: The holidays are a scammer's paradise because it's a time of year when you're the most busy and the most charitable. Avoid being a victim by making it a time of the year when you're also the most careful. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: Dec. 12, 2008
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