THANKSGIVING: PLEASURE OR PERIL?

I’m thinking of you this Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., and am sending a little humor your way:

 

Just hoping to make you smile. It’s one way this Thanksgiving that I can give back to YOU, the best readers in the world, for making my job possible. Wishing you many smiles, delightful aromas, and all the comforts of the season.

It may not be Thanksgiving Day where you live, but I still wish you a day full of many things that you are thankful for, whether it’s family, friends, a warm home, good food, happy memories, or time to read.

While most people spend Thanksgiving with loved ones and gorging on turkey and pie, some people have more sinister plans. For scam artists and thieves, the holidays pose a whole different meaning and set of opportunities. As a crime writer, I see too many of these stories every year.

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is especially busy for cops and private detectives such as Agent Otto who try to crack down on crime.

We’ve all heard the saying before, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Retail crime can increase as much as 30% over the holidays, which means that holiday shoppers should be extra wary when buying online.

Facebook and Instagram are particularly popular platforms that scammers use to dupe eager shoppers. Shopping scams often take the form of fake websites or ads that display luxury products, such as clothing, jewelry and technology, at huge discounts. Con artists often steal logos, images and descriptions of genuine products from other high-end retailers to convince buyers. 

Raul Gonzalez learned that these scams are too good to be true the hard way. He ordered a drone from a company called “Military Tees” off Instagram, which offered an $800 drone for only $100. When the drone arrived in a plastic bag it was damaged and not nearly the quality that had been advertised. Gonzalez then discovered that the same drone was being sold elsewhere for less than $50. The company refused to provide a refund. 

Image courtesy of cbsnews.com

Consumers should also be aware of dropshipping companies. 

While many boutique shops on Instagram appear to be carefully curated collections of high-quality products, in reality, many are dropshipping businesses. Rather than selling their own products, these accounts are third parties who market items from overseas manufacturers. These manufacturing companies ship products directly to the consumer. In most cases, the merchant never sees or handles the product.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Ads from companies you’ve never heard of before, and that have few reviews online
  • Luxury items and popular brands that are being offered far below their regular price point
  • Companies that process payment using a money order, pre-loaded money card, wire transfer, or bitcoin. It is very difficult to get a refund if you pay with these methods. 

Despite the risks, I hope you stay safe this Thanksgiving and enjoy the many pleasures this season has to offer.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite Thanksgiving tradition! I’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

p.s. Are you a member of the Diane Capri’s Exclusive Reading Group mailing list? It’s FREE! Just CLICK HERE to sign up and refer your friends, too. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. Can’t wait to see you there!

 

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