Holiday Shopping Scams to Beware

money on windshieldJust in time for “black Friday”, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office is warning holiday shoppers of 4 new scams to watch out for this season. All of these scams have been reported to Maryland’s Consumer Protection Unit in the last few weeks, according to this story from WTOP.

Although none of these scams have been reported in Waldorf or Lexington Park yet, they could be on their way. You can’t be too careful.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just retailers trying to get your money this time of year. Tis the season for scams, and you had better beware when you are out and about.

The most interesting new scam reported involves leaving a $100 bill on your windshield. You get in your car with your packages (presumably while you are vigilant and on guard), see the $100 bill, get out to retrieve it (when you not looking around), and get carjacked! The car jacker put the $100 bill there to make you get out of the car while you are solely focused on the money – not the creepy guy sneaking up on you. This is a devious scam. Who wouldn’t get out of their car to retrieve a $100 bill stuck under your windshield wiper? 

Another scary scam recently reported in Baltimore involved a man screaming for help in a parking lot and trying to grab the victim when they approached. This may have been an act of violence, or an attempt at theft, but the guy ran off and has not been caught yet. 

Two other scams involve people approaching a victim in a parking lot and offering to fix a small dent or ding in your car for a very low price. In one case, the poor quality paint just peeled off the next day. In another, the man demanded more money after fixing the ding. Police remind you that you should never accept business deals from some random guy who approaches you in a parking lot. 

Scams this time of year often go after our desire to be charitable. Lots of people get fooled into giving money to some criminal posing as a charity. It would be nice to tell everyone to spread peace and joy this holiday season. But we are lawyers. We are jaded and cynical after seeing things like this our entire career. If you want to be charitable this season, give through an established organization.

Our legal advice to you is – be alert, stay safe, and always remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

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