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Avoid talking politics at family holidays by talking about this instead

One way to diffuse the situation and avoid heated conversations around the holidays is talking about something everyone can agree on: the annoying scams that are making the rounds.

As Thanksgiving and other holidays approach, there’s often tension that comes up with conversations about politics and now the impeachment hearing.

One way to diffuse the situation and avoid heated conversations is talking about something everyone can agree on: the annoying scams that are making the rounds.

Of course, the most common one involves a robocall with the caller claiming to be with your credit card wanting to lower your interest rate but in turn, needs your credit card number.

13 Investigates has shown you ways to reduce the number of those annoying calls.

"Work from home" scam

As holiday bills pop up and the need for more money for Christmas gifts rises, the Federal Trade Commission is warning about the "work from home" scam.

If there's a fee involved, that's a red flag; you shouldn't have to pay money to make money. Be sure to do your research about the company before accepting the position. Find out more about the "work from home" scam here.

"Home repair" scam

Before you have a house full of company coming over, you might want to spruce things up, making "home repair" scams even more common.

These are more typical with someone going door-to-door. Remember to get a written quote, proof of insurance and a work license.

"Money mule" scam

There's also a scam that offers you money up front. This could be from a sweepstakes, perhaps a job, or more commonly from a relationship.

Here’s how it works: the person wants to send you money to deposit into your account. The sender then wants you to transfer it to someone else or buy a gift card.

It turns out that money is usually stolen, and you’ve fallen victim to the "money mule" scam.

The FBI offers these three scenarios as examples:

  • A female who worked in early childhood education met a man on an online dating site. He was kind to her and told her he worked for a children’s charity. A few weeks after they began communication, the man asked her to receive some money into her account for his charity. Over the next several weeks, he attempted to wire a total of $250,000 into her account. He then instructed her to wire the money into other bank accounts or obtain cashier’s checks and mail them to individuals at his direction.
  • On another dating website, a man met another man who claimed he was a captain in the U.S. Army, stationed overseas. The “Army captain” told the man he was trying to arrange his travel home to the United States and needed the man’s assistance in receiving some money and sending it elsewhere. The man had $10,000 wired into his account and was instructed to withdraw the money in small chunks and send it to a woman in Texas.
  • A retired advertising executive who was looking to earn some extra money found a “work at home” opportunity online. He was hired and then directed to create a business and open a new bank account for that business. He was then told he’d receive a series of deposits and would be instructed where to send the money. He believed the business was facilitating importing and exporting.

The FBI has more about "money mule" scams here.


If you feel something is too good to be true, research the company and terms to make an informed decision, and don’t be afraid to call police if you think you’ve become a victim.