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Scams to watch out for this holiday season

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 7:07 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Last minute shopping for the holidays is in full swing.

And unfortunately, that means scammers are out in full force.

We spoke with one victim who hopes her story can help someone else.

Lisa Wormhoudt lives in an east side suburb of Cleveland.

She was recently playing a game on her iPad when she saw an ad for a foldable scooter.

She thought of her dad, who sometimes uses a walker to get around.

“I’m thinking, this is awesome, and it’s a great deal!” she said.

For $40, how could she resist?

She thought it would make a nice gift.

“I didn’t look at reviews, I didn’t examine the website whatsoever, I just allowed myself to be so excited by this possibility that I just went for it,” Wormhoudt said.

But she said the confirmation email made her suspicious.

So she looked up a similar product on Amazon and saw it cost a lot more money - $1,200.

The tracking number didn’t work and then she realized she would not be getting that package.

We asked her what advice she would give to other people who might be online shopping.

“If there’s limited information on the site, that’s a red flag to say that it’s not a trusted site,” Wormhoudt said.

19 Investigates found phishing scams are even popping up after people make purchases online too.

Danny Karon is a local attorney who hosts the legal wellness site Your Lovable Lawyer.

He said don’t click on any texts or emails with suspicious links.

“If you want to check on the status of your package, go to the official delivery services website, DHL.com, FedEx.com, get the number there, and call them up. That’s the safe way to do it,” Karon said.

He said there is another scam you should watch out for - if someone calls and says you need to pay your bills for anything else in gift cards.

“What really adds to the issue is often, there’s no remedy,” he said.

“You can’t sue a class-action lawsuit, which is something I specialize in, because there’s no one to go after. So the best advice is to avoid getting into trouble in the first place by doing the research and as you say, being careful,” he said.

As for Wormhoudt, she learned her lesson.

“When things are too good to be true, especially on the internet, they really are too good to be true!” she said.

You should also watch out for charity scams.

Make sure you do your research before you donate, so you don’t lose out on your hard-earned cash.

You can report scams to the Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau.

You can also report a scam to our partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad online, or by calling 216-443-7226.

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