Harriet Butler, 99, left, and her daughter Marcia Savarese, 73, are photographed at their home in Vienna, Va., Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. The National Transportation Safety Board is holding two-day forum beginning Tuesday to better understand …
The holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people and the 2NEWS Investigators have a few helpful hints to protect you and your family.
It's the season for giving and for crooks, the season for taking.
Their most frequent target is the elderly. They often use the holidays "as a backdrop to solicit people," said U.S. Postal Inspector Lori Groen.
"They think people are a little more trusting during that time and a little more giving," Groen said.
So as you visit parents and grandparents this season, here are a few things to be on the lookout for.
"First, look for solicitations of sweepstakes, things that say they have won fabulous prizes," said Groen. "Also, look for foreign lotteries. All foreign lotteries through the mail are illegal."
Another warning from postal inspectors: Beware of offerings of so-called valuable items like watches, gloves and jewelry.
Postal inspectors have discovered several cases where victims believe they won pricey jewelry in a sweepstakes, only to be disappointed.
"In reality, it's nothing but costume jewelry," Groen said.
Also keep in mind that some of these offers are made on the phone. Never give out your personal information over the phone, and don't donate money unless you know exactly who you're dealing with.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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