Beware of holiday scam artists

Signs your elderly loved ones are being targeted

Published On: Dec 11 2012 10:27:58 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 12 2012 10:40:00 PM EST

It's the season fro giving, but for scam artists, it's the season for taking.  Unfortunately they most frequently target the elderly.

"Scammers are often using the holidays as a backdrop to solicit people… they think people are a little more trusting during that time and a little more giving," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Lori Groen.

So, as you visit grandparents this season, there are a few things you need to be on the lookout for.

“First, look for solicitations of sweepstakes, things that say they have won fabulous prizes. Also, look for foreign lotteries, all foreign lotteries through the mail are illegal," said Groen.

Another warning from postal inspectors: Beware of offerings of so-called valuable items like watches, gloves and jewelry.

"This was something that was described as some fabulous jewelry that someone would have one in a sweepstakes. In reality, it’s nothing but costume jewelry," said Groen.

Also, keep in mind that many scam artists will be dialing for dollars during the holidays.  Never give out personal information over the phone and don't donate money unless you know exactly who you are dealing with.