In The Snitch this month, my scam tip is a letter to Santa about Santa scams. (Click here to read The Snitch) Quite frankly, I’d never heard of Santa scams before, but when I did I was appalled. Here’s how it all started. Back in the 1950s, enterprising people who wanted to help spread Christmas cheer started businesses that charged a fee to mail a handwritten letter from Santa to a child.
As I said in The Snitch, I don’t recall ever receiving this type of letter, but imagine it would be the highlight of any child’s Christmas. I did some research on the companies that provide this service and discovered seven listed on the Better Business Bureau website. Here’s the sad part. Look at the entry for “Original Santa Letter” with an address in, of all places, North Pole, AK. That’s an “F” rating. It doesn’t get much worse.
Did this company just have a couple of customers who had a bad experience, then didn’t resolve the complaints? They may simply be a victim of circumstance. When I searched for reviews or complaints about the company, everything was positive with the exception of that BBB.org listing.
What I do know is that there are people who set up fake websites to solicit “business” and then either never fulfill the order or use the gathered information to commit identity theft.
If you’re going to have a letter sent to a child for Christmas, be sure to take a few precautions.
- Pay by credit card so you have ample time to dispute any charges
- Make sure the company is using a reliable third-party payment service such as PayPal, Authorize.net, or a bank.
- Search the internet for complaints about the company by entering the name of the company in quotes (so you search specifically for that company name) followed by either reviews or complaints.
Personally, I vote for putting coal in the stockings of the guys behind these scams. Have you ever had a Santa letter sent? Did you receive one?