Holiday Scams

Will you be targeted by a con?

Victoria I. Mikoch

Ahhh, the holidays! We look forward to and dread them at the same time. We’re joyous, energetic, and overwhelmed with so much preparation that has to be done. We are pre-occupied most of the time with a million things on our mind. THAT’S when the cons are at their best!

The word “con” is derived from the word “confident.” They are charming, polite, and will do whatever it takes to do as little as possible to obtain what you and family members have worked so hard to acquire. They tell you what you want to hear. These cons commonly feel “if you are stupid enough to fall into my prey, then you deserve to lose your stuff!” It makes no difference what social or educational background you came from. In fact, these pranksters will target the more educated and financially stable because they have acquired more to take! Victims often do not report these crimes because they are embarrassed and say "I should have known better.”

The following are tips to protect you:

Shopping & Parking Lot Scams:

  • Ladies - Use a purse that can be placed around your neck and hugs your chest or one that you can carry around your wrist. Men – place your wallet in front pockets. Pay with cash as little as possible. Separate your receipt from your merchandise. Thieves hang out at registers looking for cash customers, follow you, grab your bags, and return the merchandise for cash.
  • Ladies - Do not leave your purse unattended while using restroom facilities. Do not hang your purse or purchases on hooks on the back of the door, or leave them on the floor if a hook is unavailable. Thieves will reach over the top of stalls and quickly grab your purse and/or merchandise, or grab them from underneath the next stall. You are literally caught with your pants down and unable to move quickly!
  • When leaving a store or mall area, make sure you always have key in hand ready to insert into the door lock. Do not fumble through your purse/pockets in parking lots. Always park in well-lit areas. Be aware of your surroundings. Before approaching your car, look under vehicles parked around that of your own car for anyone that might be hiding. Also check your back seat.
  • If you’ve walked out to your car and see a deflated tire, be careful if someone suddenly appears offering assistance. While observing the tire, cons can quickly grab your packages and/or purse, and take off. Secure packages in the car first before seeking assistance.
  • Beware of anyone approaching you requesting cash indicating they’ve lost their wallet and need money to get home, or they’ve run out of gas. Tell them you don’t carry cash, and can’t help.
  • Be leery of those in parking lots or street corners claiming to have the real thing for so much less than department store prices. It’s very easy to duplicate a designer label and place them in counterfeit merchandise. If you are caught with these goods, they’ll be taken from you. You’ll be out your money, and goods, and may have to pay a fine for possessing counterfeit merchandise.
  • Keep yourselves safe when shopping – Purchase gas during the day. Travel with a friend or in a group. Tell someone where you are going if going alone.

Valet Parking:

  • When leaving your car either at a restaurant or entertainment facility that offers valet parking, leave only a valet key. NEVER leave the registration OR garage door opener inside. Attendants sometimes rummage through the glove box looking for information. While you are inside enjoying a night out and if you live close enough, they’ll go to your home, house keys in hand, robbing your home, and return your car without you even suspecting them. They may also make a duplicate key and write down your address for a future target.

Travel Awareness:

  • When traveling, do not put a hold on newspapers or mail. Dishonest employees in these areas know just how long of a period of time they have access to your home. Make arrangements to have these items picked up, and advise neighbors of your absence.

Charity Solicitations:

  • Don’t EVER give your credit card # or checking account # over the phone if they say they’ll accept these forms of payments. Ask if the organization is registered. If the solicitor claims it is, request the registration number. Verify the charity with charitynavigator.org. Make sure that at least 75% of your donation goes for the actual charity and not administrative fees. Have callers send information first; even if it’s a charity you think you recognize.
  • Also be aware of those knocking on your door or calling indicating they are collecting for a fallen police officer, or families who had loved ones killed in the war, natural disaster victims, or ill children’s foundations. Fraudsters will select the name of a recognized charity that has an emotional impact on people.
Don’t forget to make a copy of every card you have in your wallet – front and back – so that if the worst happens, you have a record of what you need to cancel.

After Santa has delivered the goods, never leave the packages/boxes of those fancy new electronics, big screen TVs etc. out for bulk pick up because it tells the thugs the specifics of what’s in the house. Instead, cut up the boxes and put inside the trash cans.

Have a safe and scam-free holiday season!

Where to Get More Information:



Federal Trade Commission Consumer Alerts: www.ftc.go

American Association of Retired Persons – www.Aarp.org or 888-687-2277

U.S. Department of Justice – www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud


Victoria Mikoch is the owner of A Very Private Eye Research and Investigations Corp. with 30 years of investigative experience. She provides services in Birth/Adoptee searches, missing persons, difficult locates, civil and criminal matters, and identity theft prevention. For additional information please email her at vimpi@att.net, or contact her by phone at 623-572-2665.


The UltraFICO Scoring and Current Economic News

Audrey Hickman of West USA Realty provided this information about the “new ultra FICO” scoring. It will help people who don’t use credit cards or have other bills, but who can still be recognized for their good behavior.

Audrey says that she would love to answer questions about your real estate options. Contact Audrey, the “Good Egg” Realtor, at 602-397-0813 or thegoodeggrealtor@gmail.com.


A bouquet is so much more than just a bunch of flowers. For most people, sending an arrangement is a symbol of affection. It conveys the opposite message if the blooms arrive wilted, dead, or in a box with no water and left at a doorstep when an intended recipient isn’t at home.
Ordering products and services online has become a way of life. However, when it comes to sending flowers, rethink using online flower delivery services. Despite accounting for more than $3 billion dollars in sales annually, their reputation is lousy and doesn’t seem to be improving with time. You might get lucky. But even if the flowers arrive in decent shape, you will pay more for what you order because of the number of second and third parties involved.
What is the better answer? Use your trusty internet to find a local florist near where you want to send flowers, and call them directly. Talk to a real person, and make your order over the phone. Remember, there was once a time that the telephone was considered to be a miracle of technology.

The Tulip Tree and owner Judy Haenel have served Glendale, Arizona and surrounding areas since 1988. Family owned and operated, they are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, and are backed by service that is always friendly and prompt. Judy’s artistic skills are widely recognized, and her dedication to both beauty and quality are unparalleled. For more information, visit www.tuliptreeflorist.com. To order, call 602-978-3097.
Dr. Misty Tivoli of Healing Hands Chiropractic is one of the West Valley’s most highly regarded practitioners. Her office is currently making available four adjustments for $59 per month, and a 50 minute massage for $45 a month.

In addition, a new Lifewave patch, X-39, has just become available. Formulated to activate stem cells to regenerate, it is showing encouraging signs of great effectiveness for many users.

Healing Hands Chiropractic is located at 20165 N. 67th Avenue, Suite B132, Glendale, AZ 85308. Phone 602-899-6100 or see www.drymistyaz.com for additional information.
Wendy Terrell of Moxie Hair Studio is offering 20 percent off your first appointment with her.
She is located at 5710 West Bell Road, #40, Glendale, AZ 85308. Call Wendy at 602-989-2990.
The holidays are upon us, so book your appointment now to be sure to look gorgeous for Santa.
Wendy Terrell of Sweet Magnolias makes setting the scene for a wedding or special event a snap. She offers rentals that can be used, adored, and returned. Sabby chic, rustic, and just plain pretty are all a part of what she brings to you. Contact her at sweetmagnolias@gmail.com, and find her on Facebook @sweetmagnoliasaz and Instagram.
Northwest Women’s Network welcomed a special guest, Claude Boone. Mr. Boone was the good Samaritan that pulled our youngest member, Landrie Stahl, from the vehicle after a violent crash. Mr. Boone is credited with saving her life.
The Northwest Women’s Network is a freestanding organization established almost 27 years ago to enhance the efforts of women in business. Over the years it has been a source of both professional and personal support for a diverse group of entrepreneurs and enterprises. The objective of the Northwest Women’s Network is to establish an effective referral system through the exchange of leads and networking information; to encourage referrals to local community businesses; and to promote high standards of business professionalism and integrity. We also foster deep and lasting friendships, both in and out of the business arena. Any woman engaged in a business or profession may apply for membership in the Northwest Women’s Network. Our group is category exclusive, so only one representative for each business type is admitted for membership. Weekly meetings are held each Wednesday morning at 7:30 a. m. at the Black Bear Diner, 6039 West Bell Road in Glendale, Arizona. For additional information and for contact information for individual members, visit our website at www.northwestwomensnetwork.com
This newsletter was created by SereyJones Publishers, Inc. Specializing in writing, graphic design, web sites, and social media, SereyJones creates content for ink-on-paper and digital applications of all kinds. Jody and David Serey have been a creative team in the Valley for more than 40 years. www.sereyjones.com.