56ºF

Top holiday scams you need to be aware of this season

LEON VALLEY, Texas – Leon Valley police are warning people about what they need to look out for as scams tend to increase during the holiday season.

People will start to see an increase in the number of calls from people representing fake organizations asking for donations, according to Sgt. Joel Urdiales.

“They’ll use the Blue Santa program or other charities, like Angle Tree, a church name. They’ll start to pick up funds for themselves,” he said.

You should never donate to people over the phone. Instead, ask them to mail you information about the organization, Urdiales said. This allows you to double-check that the organization is legitimate before you send money.

Urdiales said police departments won’t call for donations or send officers asking for money door to door.

Robocalls will also increase during this time of year. For example, companies may call asking you to extend your vehicle warranty. They might also pretend to be with a utility company and threaten you with an overdue bill.

“Don’t answer them if they do call. Just hang up on them,” Urdiales said.

Urdiales said the Leon Valley Police Department will get 10 to 15 calls between November and December from citizens complaining about someone taking advantage of them through solicitation calls.

If you purchase things online, avoid clicking on pop up ads. Instead, go directly to the website that you want to visit.

“If you’re gonna go to Best Buy, go to the Best Buy web page. Make sure you use their proper address on the web and make sure that it is their web page,” Urdiales said. “You can look for different discoloration. The logo’s a little off ... That usually tells you it’s not their web page.”

When those purchases end up on your front porch, make a plan to ensure they don’t end up in the hands of thieves.

“You should have them delivered to your work or to a neutral location. There are some centers here in San Antonio that will accept your packages, like the UPS store and FedEx stores,” Urdiales said.

‘Operation Polar Express’ aims to deter porch pirates in Schertz

Keep watch for any fake lottery winnings in the mail. These scams tend to target the elderly.

Urdiales also warns people to be on the lookout for aggressive panhandlers this time of the year.


About the Authors: