Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Holiday Scams Targeting Children

Posted on: November 17th, 2010 by

Avoiding Holiday Scams - Financial Planning - Rockville, MDThere seems to be more and more scams every year around the Holiday season.  This year, however, fraudsters are attempting to lure teens and tweens onto websites by promising them free stuff in exchange for playing games, watching videos, and filling out surveys.  While these websites do exist all year round, kids tend to be more attracted to them around the holidays.  One of the predominant reasons is that kids are busy surfing the web, looking up toys, and making lists of what they want Mom and Dad to buy them.  And while your kids are probably searching legitimate sites, at the same time, the illegitimate ones pop up too.

A second reason is because you may have already laid out a list of items you are not planning to buy your kids this holiday season.  So if you’re not going to give him an Xbox 360 and he doesn’t have the money to buy it on his own, then these websites that promise him a free game system are almost too tempting to pass up.  What kid wouldn’t want a free gaming system?

So what happens if your teenager does start giving out his name, email address and other personal information?  His data is then sold to marketers and in a worst case scenario it could be used for identity theft.  Parents also need to worry about “cookies” and malware when kids go onto these sites.

As for those prizes, chances are your kid is never going to actually get his hands on a new iPad or Xbox.  These sites require users to fill out endless surveys and watch too many videos, which force most people to give up after a couple of weeks.  And even if your youngster sees the process through, the scam artists make it so difficult to redeem the prizes that nearly no one ever wins.  In the rare case your kid does actually score an Xbox, chances are he will be told that the gaming system is currently out-of-stock.

What’s a parent to do?  Buying your kid whatever he wants clearly isn’t the answer.  Sure, it would stop the temptation to chase free stuff, but it would create so many other issues.  Instead, warn your child to avoid these sites and to NEVER give out his personal information.  Then, if he really feels he must have the latest gaming system, let him earn it the old fashioned way by saving up his allowance or by getting a job, if he’s old enough to work.  Finally, parents who aren’t sure if a website is legit or not can look it up on