Carolers sing, reindeer prance and the Grinch schemes, asholiday buzz fills the air. As consumers shop, wrap gifts and donate tocharities, it is important to remember not everyone may be in the same joyful holidayspirit. Schemes take on many forms, especially during the holidays whenscammers come from all directions to play on the vulnerabilities ofunsuspecting consumers. BBB has developed a list of 12 common schemes of theholiday season for consumers to keep in mind to help keep their wallets and personal information secure.
“Consumers should be conscious of the different waysscammers attempt to lure consumers during the holidays,” said Nancy B. Cahalen,President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England, “bealert, if something seems suspicious, do a little more research before making apurchase or giving out money or information.”
Better Business Bureau is warning about these common holidayscams and frauds:
Malware e-cards: Viruses andmalware often travel in e-mail attachments or links. Don't click on an e-mailfrom someone you don't know or a name you don't recognize. When in doubt,delete the e-card or e-mail.
Stranded grandkids: It's theclassic "grandparent scam". If your grandchild, relative or friendcalls or send you an e-mail saying they were robbed or hurt overseas, check toverify it's true before wiring money.
Counterfeit gifts: Low priceson luxurious goods are almost always cheap counterfeits. At best, you'll looklike a Scrooge. At worst, you may be helping finance drug traffickers orterrorists.
Pickpockets: When out shopping,keep your purse or wallet secure. Don't get overburdened or put shopping bagsdown, even for a moment. Thieves are watching and waiting for the perfectmoment to snatch up your items, wallet or purse.
Stolen gift cards: If you arebuying gift cards for someone this holiday season, make sure you are buyingfrom reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It’s easy for a scammerto sell you the card and then use the funds before you even have the chance togive the card as a gift.
Fake coupons: Be cautious whendownloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer's real website. Beespecially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
Santa scammers: What could bemore jolly than a letter from Santa addressed directly to your child? Make surethe site is real and not gathering your data for identity theft purposes.
Fake charities: Charities counton end-of-year giving, so be generous if you can. But be careful too, becausescammers set up fake charities that often have similar sounding names tolegitimate charities.
Bogus websites: It's easy tomimic a real website, with logos and everything. Some red flags you might be ona copy website are: if http is displayed in the address bar instead of the moresecure https, the website does not list contact information or they areasking for payment by wire or money card.
Travel scams: With busy holidaytravel, bargains on airfare or trips may be tempting. Be cautious when bookingthrough online ads, never wire money to someone you don't know and ask forreferences of trusted travel agencies or website from friends and family members.
Romance scams: Everyone wants aspecial someone under the mistletoe, so the holidays are a prime time forscams. Be careful when finding an online sweetheart especially one that getscozy too fast or asks for money.
Puppy scams: Who doesn't want anew puppy for the holidays, but be careful buying pets online,especially at the holidays. You may end up getting a puppy mill pooch withproblems, or you may pay for your new pet and get nothing at all because it wasa scam.