60 percent of consumers surveyed saying they would like to receive one this holiday season. That creates many opportunities for fraud.

There are some Grinches out there. Be alert this season to typical scams:

1. Charity fraud. This heightened season of compassion requires discernment. “It’s extremely important to raise awareness about charity scams to help ensure that donors’ hard-earned money goes to the worthy causes they seek to support, not to fraudsters,” warned the Federal Trade Commission in October. Before giving, look up the organization’s name and information online to see whether there are any warnings or complaints from others, and check out the charity’s ratings with groups like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar, advises FTC.gov.

2. Travel scams. Do not wire money for rooms or housing rented online, do not pay any fees for a “free” vacation or accommodations, make sure a company is reputable before giving out credit card information, ask friends and family for recommendations, and use a legitimate travel app for hotel and airline reservations. Be aware of “broken taxi meter” scams by negotiating a price when entering the taxi. Many people who offer what appear to be freebies will intimidate and demand money. A friendly ATM helper may actually be stealing a PIN number; a helpful group-photo tourist may run off with an expensive camera or phone.

3. Gift cons. AARP on Nov. 2 shared: “Gift cards are the most popular items on holiday wish lists, according to the NRF (National Retail Federation), with 60 percent of consumers surveyed saying they would like to receive one this holiday season. That creates many opportunities for fraud.” Make sure the card’s identification number is not exposed, and shun buying from auction or third-party gift card sites. Also, before purchasing online, check a retail site’s authenticity.  

Report a suspected or known scam to the Federal Trade Commission, and look on FTC.gov for alerts of new and ongoing scams.