Vigilance is the word whether you’re making a donation, shopping online or in stores, scammers are on the look-out for you and you should do the same for them. Keep, your eyes and ears open.
Better Business Bureau is warning about these common Christmas scams and frauds:
Malware e-cards - Viruses and malware often travel in email attachments or links. Don’t click on an e-mail from someone you don’t know or a name you don’t recognize. When it doubt, delete!
Fake FEDEx/UPSemails – Be wary of unexpected urgent emails from a shipper that request money or personal and/or financial information for the delivery of a package.
Stranded grandkids - It’s the classic “grandparent scam.” If your grandchild, other relative or friend calls or e-mails to say they were robbed or hurt overseas, check before wiring money.
Counterfeit gifts - Low prices on luxury goods are almost always cheap counterfeits. At best, you’ll look like a Scrooge. At worst, you may be helping finance drug traffickers or terrorists.
Stolen gift cards - Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It’s easy for a scammer to sell you the card, then pull off the funds before you can even give the gift.
Fake coupons - Be cautious when downloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer’s real website. Be especially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
DearSanta Websites – Parents should pay close attention to websites their children visit to avoid those that lure children into divulging too much information about themselves.
Fake charities - Charities count on end-of-the-year giving, so be generous if you can. But be careful, too, because scammers set up fake charities with similar sounding names. Check out nationally soliciting charities at bbb.org/charity
Bogus websites - It’s easy to mimic a real website, with logos and everything. Red flags: http (not the more secure https), no contact information, asking for payment by wire or money card.
Phony E-tailers– Finding those treasures online is easy but you must be careful in selecting which site to shop. Fake e-commerce sites lure buyers with great deals, collect credit/debit card and other personal information and no products are every delivered. If you are shopping a site for the first time check other user’s reviews and verify that the phone number and other information provided on the site is legitimate.
IdentityTheft – Use caution while shopping online. Look for third party “trust seals” such as BBB Online. And make sure you know who you are doing business with.
Travel scams: With busy holiday travel, bargains may be tempting. Be cautious when booking through online ads, never wire money to someone you don’t know, and ask for references.
Puppy scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially at the holidays. You may get a puppy mill pooch with problems, or you may get nothing at all because it was a scam.
To avoid those Grinch’s who would ruin your Christmas follow these rules:
1. Stay suspicious
2. Practice safe surfing
3. Practice safe shopping
4. Use strong passwords
5. Be careful when clicking
6. Educate yourself
7. Update your computers virus protection program
For more information on scams visit bbb.org.