The holiday season brings about a lot of good things - food, time with family and friends and aid to those less fortunate. But the good of the season also brings out the bad in the form of scam artists.
Christmas time is prime season for scammers, according to Tupelo Detective Lt. Tim Tate. Scams are done year round, but this time of year, Tate said, they increase because people are in a giving mood.
"We want everyone to enjoy their holiday but we want them to be aware that there will be people out there trying to scam them for money and information," he said. "So handle things with caution this holiday season and remember that if it's too good to be true, it's probably not true."
Tate said at this time of year, credit card scams are popular, as are scams in which people solicit money for different things.
"You are going to see people with stories about how they ran out of gas and have no money to get home and those sorts of things," said Tate. "We would never say don't help a person, but be careful. We have churches and other organizations who help these people, so just keep that in mind."
According to bankrate.com, several popular holiday scams are in play:
* Naming a star. People can pay money to name a star after a loved one. For a price, these companies will send you a certificate with the location and name of your star. But stars are names by the International Astronomical Union, which does not sell names.
* Fake charities. According to the Federal Trade Commission, many of the calls you get will be from scam artists. The FTC has a checklist of warning signs to help you steer clear of charity scams. Your best bet is to not make any quick decisions, ask for information in writing and research the charity before cutting any checks.
* Auction scams and spam solicitations over the Internet. Many people do a lot of their shopping online during the holidays, so being extra cautious while using the Internet to shop is important, according to scambusters.org.
Tate said people also should beware of conventional thieves this holiday season.
"On top of all of this, people still need to remember to lock their vehicles and keep their valuables out of sight," he said. "People will be out during the holidays looking for things to take, so making sure you lock your doors can help against that."