(WHTM) — Christmas is the time for giving. But for scammers, it is one of the best times of year for taking because they know that many of us let our guard down.

Michael Mallot loves shopping for his family’s Christmas in his Florance Kentucky home. But this year money is tight, with no stimulus checks. So when a friend told him about a government grant he received, Mallot was all ears.

“He said it’s a grant that gives away free money.” His friend even sent what he said was a photo of the thousands of dollars he got and told Michael to contact a government agency to apply.

But when that agent asked for money, Mallot got suspicious.

Good thing, because his friend’s Facebook page had been hacked. There was no grant, just a holiday scam.

But during the holiday season, it is so easy to be trusting and fall for a scam.

Bridget Huddleston wanted a new puppy for the holidays. She found a blonde Yorkie in a Facebook group offered at a great price. All she had to do was buy a $200 Visa gift card and send the numbers.

As soon as she did that, the seller disappeared and there was no puppy.

The Better Business Bureau says:

  • Check any puppy seller carefully
  • Avoid buying dogs that can’t see in person
  • Never pay by gift card, Zelle, or Venmo which is untraceable

Huddleston and Mallot both want others to be careful during this holiday when we open our hearts.

Bottom line: Be careful of any holiday season appeal that asks for cash or especially gift cards so that you don’t waste your money.