You Are Here.
Jump to other pages.
<A 'Belsnickle' is a sort of anti-Santa in some German traditions.  Many are much scarier than this fellow.
Bible Story
of Christmas
More Stories
of Christmas
Activity Ideas

Christmas Charity Scam Alert

If you came to our web page because someone told you we would give you money, you have been scammed. I am sorry that you have been taken in, but you are not the first. In fact, some people actually make their living by lying about people like us to people like you.

I have tried to expain this nicely on our contact pages, without getting too specific or negative, because I want everyone who visits and our related sites to have a positive experience. But this year, the scam attempts have taken a very dark turn, so I have to be blunt:

If someone told you to write us asking for money, they were lying to you.

We know more about Christmas "charity" scams than we ever wanted to, because scammers are always trying to scam us, too. And sometimes one scam leads to another.

Scam #1 - Fake "Christmas Help" Sites

You may have got our name from a web page that promises you Chistmas help, but actually doesn't have anything but advertising and a list of other sites who will supposedly help you.

The scammers who run those pages put our site names on those pages illegally because they want to make their scam sites look "legit." I hate these liars exploiting our good name to make their scams seem valid. Worse yet, every holiday season, scammers who make a living scamming charities for money get our URL from those scam sites and deluge us with fake sob stories.

What I hate the most is that real, hurting people who could use the help, get caught up in these schemes, and worse. If that describes you, I am sorry it has happened, and if I could shut down the scammers that have misled you, I surely would. But I don't run the internet.

Scam #2 - Fake Families With Fake Hardships

It took me a while to figure out that most of the people who were e-mailing us with sad stories had gotten our information from one of those scam sites. But as far as I could tell, almost all of them were also scammers, who found those sites when they were looking for charities to scam. Does your head hurt yet?

At first I tried taking people who asked for help at "face value" and offering to make a donation through local resources that could help them. Then I realized the last thing those people wanted was a local agency representative showing up on their doorstep trying to determine if they really needed help (because they never actually did).

I believe in helping people, and I also feel that Christmas is a good time to do so. Check our our article on Making Your Giving Count for more information on that topic.

However, I realized that trying to help distant strangers, most of whom were scammers, was taking time and resources that we should have been using to help local people whom we knew needed help and were not scamming anybody. So we determined to stop trying to sort out the random strangers who e-mailed us and just keep on helping local people we knew.

What about strangers who really do need help? We also volunteer for and support national organizations that families in other states can turn to if there is an actual need. And we provide links to those organizations' sites on our contact pages. The truth is that only people with "boots on the ground" in those communities have a hope of sorting out the truly needy families from the scammers anyway.

We tried explaining that in the contact page. But the scammers don't bother to read the "fine print." They have become more inventive. One told me her pastor said she should contact us. But the pastor didn't know her and had never heard of our web page. Apparently claiming that some reputable third party supposedly sent the scammer to us for help is supposed to make us feel more responsible or something.

Because we receive so many scam requests for help every year, we have no choice but to help where we already know it will do some good and automatically delete every unsolicited request for money.

As far as the site is concerned, we will continue providing dozens of free family Christmas activities, stories, poems, and craft resources, because we believe that every family deserves the resources to make the kind of Christmas for their family that our working-class parents made for us and that we made for our own children.

Scam #3 - Hacking, Identity Theft and Worse

This year (2015) things have taken an even darker turn. Apparently some online scammer has been telling their victims that sites like mine would help them only if they e-mailed the site the ages, birthdates, and social secuity numbers of all family members, children included. Simultaneously, someone has been trying to hack the e-mail accounts of those sites.

In other words, the Christmas "charity" scams are apparently evolving beyond begging for money under false pretenses or fooling hurting families into scrolling through the advertisements on bogus web pages. Now they include active hacking and attempts to ferret out information that would give the scammers all the information they need to steal their victims' identities and to cyberstalk their children.

If that creeps you out, good - it should.

I have written back to the families that e-mailed me this information asking who told them to send it to me so I could report them, but they "couldn't remember." One asked if they could still have the money.

Don't Be Fooled

Just because someone online offers you free holiday help, doesn't mean they'll actually give it to you.

Just because someone tells you that someone else will give you money for the asking doesn't mean they will, or even can.

Just because someone tells you that they are a charity doesn't mean you should trust them with information they can use to steal your identity or cyberstalk your children.

Who to Call

Again, we support national organizations that help people in your community. These include:

Also, if you contact your local church, synagogue, mosque, social services office, etc., they might be able to put you in touch with some local or regional resource that I know nothing about.


I apologize for the negative tone of this page, but these scams are becoming more dangerous all the time, and the people they hurt the most are the people who actually need the help that the scammers are promising. If you need Christmas help, the best thing you can do is to contact the organizations in the "who to call" section above.

In the meantime, we will continue to invest in offering scores of Christmas activities, crafts, stories, and more that you can enjoy with your children for little or nothing. We've always believed that family time was the best holiday gift we could give our children after all.

Paul D Race

Note: Family Christmas Online? is a trademark of Breakthrough Communications(tm) ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
Family Christmas Online(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

For more information, please contact us.

Visit any of the links below to see quality collectible Christmas gifts and
decorations that have been popular with our readers.Many include new products inspired by the work of Thomas Kinkade(r).

Click to see collectible table-top trees, including animated ceramic trees from Thomas Kinkade(r) and other world-class designers. Click to see collectible Christmas wreaths designed by world-known artists. Click to see classic nativity sets, including collections from world-known designers. Click to see collectible Christmas ornaments by world-known designers. Click to see Christmas collectibles with railroad themes - designs by Thomas Kinkade(r).