It’s the time of year when children are making their wish lists. Many of them send those wish lists in letters to Santa.
However, parents who want their children to get replies from St. Nick sometimes find they’ve been taken for more than a sleigh ride.
In downtown Apex, you can’t miss a giant red mailbox asking for letters to Santa.
It’s operated by elves who work for Apex Outfitter and Board Co. who make sure that kids get a personal reply from the big Christmas elf. They are nice guys who make sure every letter writer gets a reply.
For parents, it’s part of the joy of the season. John Ashton said if his daughter Ruby were to get a letter from Santa, it would warm his heart for years to come.
“They love to believe in the magic of Christmas and the spirit of giving and receiving,” Ashton said.
Cyber thieves have come up with some sneaky ways to use Santa for scams. Some offer a free letter from Santa, but collect personal information about both parents and children.
Thieves can do a lot with that information. They make more money on the deal by selling that info to others.
Another potential scam is an email offering a letter from Santa from Holiday Printables. CBS 17’s Steve Sbraccia got one and noticed a string of gibberish at the bottom of the email. A check of the Better Business Bureau website showed the company is a repeat offender and has an “F” rating.
According to the BBB, Holiday Printables has a history of not delivering products that were paid for. That includes letters from Santa and other Christmas related items.
The website warns consumers of a “pattern of complaints” saying, “consumers state that they are charged for products that are not delivered.”
The BBB said the company has refused to respond to its inquiries. Sbraccia reached out to the company via the number listed on its website.
He reached a fulfillment service and was eventually transferred to a supervisor who told him he “was not at liberty to disclose” how to reach the company by phone or email to discuss issues about consumer complaints.
The United States Postal Service also has a free letters to Santa program, complete with a “North Pole” postmark. But, because of the volume of mail it receives, it recommends sending requests early.
In short, do some research first to see which letters to Santa programs are naughty and which are nice.