Don't Get Scammed By Santa This Holiday Season

(Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Beware! The season of goodwill and cheer also offers prime pickings for con artists.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer is warning consumers about holiday scams, including one that starts with an email offering to sell handwritten letters from Santa to your child, usually for the price of $19.99.

"Don't click on the link," Feuer advises in a video. "It takes you to a website promising to sell you a customized letter from Santa. In the best case, you're simply out $20. In the worst case, you just shared your credit card information with potential scammers who could now use it for identity theft."

Feuer also warned people of another scam that takes place via email and social media. This one starts with a "convincing invitation" to sign up for a gift exchange. You typically have to provide your name, address and other personal information and tag friends. Then, you're invited to send a modest gift to a stranger.

"You're left buying and shipping gifts to unknown individuals in hopes that the favor is going to be reciprocated and that you'll receive the promised number of gifts in return. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way. Just like any other pyramid scheme, it relies on the recruitment of individuals to keep the scam afloat," Feuer said.

You can report suspected scammers to the L.A. City Attorney's Office by clicking here.

WE LOVE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS