Don’t Get Spooked by These Halloween Scams!

Halloween jackolanterns

That cackling, long-haired witch might send your heart fluttering with fear, but these Halloween scams are even spookier! Here’s what you need to know about current Halloween scams.

The Joker

During this time of year, everyone is looking for a little extra cash before the holiday shopping season begins. Scammers know this all too well, and target consumers with messages promising lots of money for very little work. All you need to do is send a small amount of money to a designated digital address via CashApp, Venmo, or another money transfer app, and your money will be doubled, tripled, or more.

Don’t fall for this trick! Much like another variation of the money-flipping scam, they’ll ask you to share your account information so they can withdraw the money and then “treat” you with the cash you’ve earned. It’s like getting free money—which, of course, doesn’t exist.

You can spot a money-flipping scam through the amateur writing and too-good-to-be-true promises. Any request for you to share your banking information is another dead giveaway.

Night of the Living Dead

This scam can be pulled off at any time of year, but it takes on an extra level of spookiness when yards are decorated with ghosts and graveyards. In the deceased identity theft scam, scammers steal the identity of someone who has passed away. They may empty the decedent’s accounts, pass off their credit history as their own and use their Social Security number to collect benefits, apply for a job, and more.

Protect a loved one’s identity from being stolen after they pass on by taking steps to lock down their social media accounts, credit report, and Social Security number. Keep an eye on their accounts until their assets have been lawfully divided.

Trick or Treat

You found the perfect costume online, and for a bargain price. You happily pay up, complete your order and wait for the package to arrive. And wait. And wait. Unfortunately, you’ve been tricked.

In a variation of the online order scam, the package arrives on your doorstep as promised, but has little resemblance to the way it looked online. The quality may be lacking, the size and color completely off, or important components missing. You may try to find a customer service line, but there’s no working number listed. You may also try returning the purchase, but a street address for returns can’t be found.

Don’t get tricked! Only order from reputable sites that display complete contact information for the company. Ignore all offers that scream “Hot Deal! Act Now!” and feature prices that are way below the average sale price.

Bogus Buy

In this scenario, scammers try to convince you that you ordered something you have no recollection of purchasing just to get you to share your personal information. Once the scammers have this information, they’ll do anything from emptying your accounts to taking out loans in your name or committing identity theft.

If you receive any emails, phone calls or text messages asking you about a costume you never ordered or a ticket you never purchased, do not engage with the sender or caller. Delete the emails or flag them as spam. Also, block the contact from calling or texting you again. With any luck, the scammer will get the message that you’re not an easy target and leave you alone.

It can be a frightening world out there, but being aware of these scams and following smart precautions can protect your money and your information.

Follow the tips outlined above and stay safe this Halloween. You can also stay alert and informed by signing up for Fraud News and Alerts. You will receive weekly email updates about the latest scam news. Have a happy and safe Halloween!