BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Central and Northern Alberta
Don't let Scams ruin your holiday spirit
November 26, 2012

Looking forward to the holidays? So are the scammers. As many begin to make their holiday gift list, scammers are targeting your hard earned money. Better Business Bureau is warning holiday shoppers to know the red flags and to be on their guard for this season's holiday scams.

"Every year, thousands of shoppers fall victim to the holiday scams that seem too good to be true," said Ron Mycholuk, Public Relations Manager for BBB of Central and Northern Alberta. “Scammers prey on that hope that this time is different and you really are getting a great deal.”

This holiday season, BBB urges consumers to take the following tips into consideration before doing their holiday shopping and making charity donations:

Always check a business's BBB Business Review, at www.edmonton.bbb.org, before making a purchase in the store or online. Make sure that the company has a physical address and telephone number. When shopping online, some websites offer electronics or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. Every holiday season, BBB hears from holiday shoppers who paid for a "great deal" online, but received little or nothing in return.

If you shop Craigslist or other free bulletin board sites, look for local sellers and conduct transactions in person. Bring a friend if you’re uncomfortable meeting the seller alone. Never wire money as payment. If you’re shopping on auctions like EBay, look at seller ratings and read their reviews. Don't buy if the deal sounds too good to be true.

Don't let yourself get bogged down in purchases or lose track of your wallet. While you're struggling with bags of presents, identity thieves may see an opportunity to steal yourw allet or look over your shoulder to copy your debit or credit card numbers.Know where your credit and debit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your PIN while purchasing items or getting money from an ATM.Make sure you put your card backing your wallet after each purchase.

Don't click on any links or open any attachments to emails until you have confirmed that they are notm alicious. Phishing emails are common way for hackers to get at your personal information or break into your computer. Around the holidays, beware of e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like Canada Post or FedEx with links to package tracking information. Email addresses that don't match up,typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of a malicious phishing email. Also beware of unsolicited emails from companies with which you have no association. Make sure you have current antivirus software and that all security patches have been installed on the computer.

For more holiday tipsthat you can trust, visit edmonton.bbb.org