TODAY   |  November 26, 2013

Rossen Reports: Watch out for these holiday scams

With holiday season underway, scammers and con artists will be out along with shoppers, looking for victims to prey on. NBC’s Jeff Rossen has some tips to help you watch out for them.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> reports, tis the season for scammers and consumer groups are warning folks to be on the look out. today jeff rossen is here to expose some of them and unfortunately tis the season for some of this.

>> it's a good time to try to save you money at home. we have thanksgiving coming up and black friday and cyber monday. the crooks are out there looking to pounce.

>> you identified three schemes. the first has to do with gift cards . how does it work.

>> gift cards , hugely popular this year. retailers expect 80% of us will buy gift cards . there's this scam i've not even heard about before. what thieves do is -- when you go to the store all the gift cards are sitting on the counter for you to buy. here's the gift card . what the thieves are doing is going up to the counter and flipping the gift card around and you'll see right here most of them have a scratch box, a scratch off box right here. there's a code under there for activation. the thieves are scratching it off like that and writing down the codes for a lot of these cards, putting them back on the wrack. then you buy it. you're so nice, you give it to me. i buy it. i activate the card and the thieves are calling the 100 number. they're going online to find out when they're bought and activated and when they are they're draining the money out of it and when they do there's nothing left.

>> right under the nose of the cashiers.

>> right. here's the take away for you. most of us don't do that. flip it around and see if the code is scratched off. ask for the cards from behind the counter. and the third one, include a gift receipt when you give a gift card so you can get it replaced.

>> your next scam, package theft.

>> this is one we told you about before. it happened from seattle to houston to san diego and the video was interesting. what happens is police believe these thieves follow around delivery trucks into neighborhoods. when they leave you a package, your christmas present, the thieves run up and take the package away before you get home. easy ways to protect yourself from this. here's the take away on it. require a signature when you fill out that package form so the thief can't get to it. they won't deliver it. if you're not going to be home, do this. have the package sent to the nearest service location.

>> following the delivery truck, that's despicable.

>> retailer websites.

>> you're an online shopper so this effects you a lot.

>> they are sophisticated. a growing problem. federal authorities shutdown 1500 counterfeit websites in the past year alone. this is a problem that's growing. i brought a couple of examples for you. beats by dr. dre.

>> we love beats.

>> matt loves beats. it's a popular holiday item. this is real website on your screen right now. now let's show you the fake one. it looks the same.

>> how do you get to it? you search it.

>> you google t it. it gives you a bad sighte. the colors are the same. the same with tiffanys.

>> i've never seen this website before.

>> you've never been here. let me show you the fake one. same colors. same kind of jewelry. same writing and logo and everything. what you want to do on these is -- and by the way, what you want to do is look for the counterfeit sites by spelling errors. they'll often make that mistake and look for the customers service phone number on these websites. call it and say am i on the real website.

>> couldn't they just copy this customer service from the real one?

>> but then you're going to call it and they can't fake that. if you get scammed much easier to contest the charges and of course check for those errors.

>> if you happen to buy something on one of these false websites, if you used your credit card you could get your money back.

>> much easier to fight the charges.

>> so much to worry about.