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News & Press: Public Awareness

12 Scams of Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ESA Communications

For Immediate Release


ESA Media Contacts

Shannon Murphy
Vice President,
Sales & Marketing
Phone: (888) 447-1689 ext. 6835

Jaclyn Sion
Marketing Manager
Phone: (888) 447-1689 ext. 6818

The 12 Scams of Christmas
Protect your family from these common holiday dangers

Irving, Texas (Dec. 18, 2014)
— The holidays are some of the busiest times of the year for everyone, including shoppers, homeowners, business owners and even criminals. Unsavory characters choose the holidays to prey upon busy shoppers and unwary homeowners during this often hectic time.

The Electronic Security Association (ESA) wants to inform you of some of the most common holiday scams criminals use to harm you and your family, and provide you with some tips to stay safe.

Package Theft
Unattended packages left on doorsteps make for tempting targets for thieves. Require a signature for any packages delivered to your home, or have them taken to a nearby secure service location.

Robbers posing as delivery workers
Another potential threat is criminals posing as delivery workers. Intruders have been known to knock on doors claiming to have a package to deliver, and then breaking into the home when the homeowner comes to open the door. For your safety, never accept any package you are not expecting. You may also consider installing a video surveillance system from a trusted security company found here, so that you can see who is at the door from a safer area of your home.

Fake charities
Criminals have been known to take advantage of the holiday spirit by soliciting donations for fake charities. Make sure the charity in question is reputable before making your donation by researching it online. Some scam sites will use web addresses nearly identical to legitimate charities to deceive you into making a donation, so be observant.

Scam artists taking advantage of elders
Some scam artists will take advantage of the trusting nature of the elderly. Criminals have called the homes of elders posing as relatives in need of emergency financial help, such as help affording travel expenses home for the holidays. Stay in contact with family members throughout the holiday season and talk to them about any major expenses they plan to pay for over the holiday. If you receive a call like this, be sure to confirm with other relatives that it is legitimate before providing any financial information.

Gift card fraud
Less-than-reputable vendors have been known to sell fraudulent gift cards online during the holiday season. Be sure to buy all gift cards either from the store’s official website or its physical location.

Mystery shopper scams
Scammers offering fraudulent “mystery shopper” opportunities often strike during the holiday season, preying on people looking for a little extra spending money. Be sure and research any mystery shopper job offer for legitimacy, and never wire money as part of any mystery shopping job.

Scam artists taking advantage of elders
Criminals have been known to use automated phone calls or text messages to “phish” for sensitive information including credit card numbers and bank passwords. Often times they will pose as financial institutions warning you of problems with your account. Remember that any bank or financial institution would never call you to ask for your information; they would already have it.

Data breaches
Several recent high profile data breaches, including Target and Home Depot, show that not even major retail chains are safe from hackers. Using cash, cards not connected to a bank account and monitoring your bank statements frequently are the best ways to stay safe in case a store’s data is compromised.

ATM skimming
Criminals can use ATM skimming devices on bank machines and gas pump card readers so they can copy card information for their own uses. Be sure and check ATMs for tampering, and monitor your bank statements.
Smartphone security
These days our phones and tablets are much more than just communication devices: they are electronic keys, home control devices, wallets, bank cards, checkbooks and so much more. A thief can easily gain access to your entire digital life and potentially your home by stealing your phone, so be sure to keep it close at hand when out shopping. Lock your phone with a password or biometric access system in case it is stolen, to minimize the chance of your data being breached.

Fly- by-night web merchants
Every holiday season there’s at least one “must-have” gift that sends shoppers scrambling. Scammers will often set up websites offering the product, often at slashed prices. After raking credit card information from unsuspecting consumers the sites go down never to be seen again. Always deal with reputable, well- known vendors when shopping online.

Beware of free USBs
Digital storage has come so far down in price that complimentary USB drives are often included in gift bags. Using them however can be risky, as they could be pre-loaded with malware that could compromise the safety of your device. Finally, it is important to remain vigilant during the holiday season so that you do not fall victim to any of the scams outlined above. ESA recommends choosing a professional security company for your home or business security needs that is capable of delivering high-quality products and services. To find an ESA member company in your area and learn more about home security, please visit



You can't replace the feeling of security. is an online resource for consumers interested in electronic security. Here you'll find everything you need to know about choosing, installing and operating an electronic security system. You will also find security facts, news and tips that are relevant and important to you. is powered by the Electronic Security Association (ESA). ESA is the largest professional trade association in the U.S. that represents the electronic life safety, security and integrated systems industry. ESA is made up of a select group of trusted security companies.