The Scams That Stole Christmas: Words of Caution from the Better Business Bureau

December 02, 2013

In preparation for their Christmas shopping consumers are making their lists and checking them twice but before the buying begins theyneed to be aware of the scams that could ruin an otherwise joyous occasion, theBetter Business Bureau serving Central SC and Charleston offers this list that consumers also need to check “The Christmas Top 10”.

“Vigilance is the word” said Jim Camp, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central SC and Charleston.“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.”

What should consumers look for this holiday season?

·        Dear Santa Websites – Parents should pay close attention to websites their children visit to avoid those that lure children into divulging too much information about themselves.

·        Recalled toys – For the safety of their children shoppers should make themselves aware of what toys have been recalled. While they may have been removed from store shelves that may not be the case for online sites.

·        Hot Holiday Gifts – There are thousands of new items introduced at Christmas,especially electronics. Consumers should be suspicious of any deal that offers merchandise at extremely low prices and should verify the offer with the retailer involved.

·        Fake FEDEx/UPS emails – Be wary of unexpected urgent emails from a shipper that requestmoney or personal and/or financial information for the delivery of a package.

·        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 ever 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.

·        Fake Charities – Don’t ever give money to any charity without checking them out first. Whether they are making the ask on your porch or online. If the Organization needs the money today, they will need it tomorrow – legitimate charities have no problem answering your questions and waiting for your donation.

·        Bogus Gift Cards – Gift cards are easy and for some the perfect gift for many people. Be careful buying gift cards online or from third parties. It is best to make your purchase from the official retailer.

·        Layaway plans – To avoid feeling scammed by a layaway plan, be sure to closely examine all terms and conditions. In some cases retailers charge upfront fees,and if you fail to make a payment you may lose the fee you paid and be charged a “restocking” fee.

·        Dangerous e-cards – E-cards are a quick and easy way to say thank you or send a holiday greeting but you need to use caution because some may be malicious and contain spyware or viruses.

·        Identity Theft – 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.

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