BBB December 2013 Hot Topics

November 26, 2013

1. Holiday shopping? Beware of fake “Overstock” Websites! Scammers are trying to fool customers looking for the real website, which is a BBB Accredited business, with fake Overstock websites. Some of these sites ask the customer to pay with a Green Dot Money Pak. Make sure you are shopping the real company at

2. Check Dear Santa Websites before your child logs on. While many are legitimate, some could be potentially dangerous, asking for personal information, or could have unwelcome content. Check the links on the site, the privacy policy, and do not share too much personal information. After all, Santa already knows where you live.

3. ECards are a popular way to send a holiday greeting, but some are malicious, containing spyware or viruses that download onto your computer. Only open e-cards from a trusted source, and even that can be questionable. You may not want to open them at all – until you confirm the actual source!

4. Holiday Delivery Scams: If you receive an email from what appears to be UPS Shipments that states “your package has arrived,” and it asks you to click on a link, delete it! This is a phishing scam. Other emails ask you to download a form, which ends up containing a virus. Similar emails can come from “Fed Ex.”

5. Scam artists offer Fake Gift Cards online. Be wary of buying gift cards from third parties. Buy from sources you know and trust. If buying at the store, be sure the card has not been tampered with. Also, read the fine print before you buy.

6. A fake email about CEO Compensation at National Charities is making its rounds. The article touts, “consider this before you give” and compares the salaries of top executives of several large non-profits. The email is outdated and inaccurate. BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance has comprehensive reports on most of the charities listed in the email. Go to for more information.

7. Scammers are claiming they are doing a Customer Satisfaction Survey on behalf of a company you’ve done business with. The invitation comes in an email or text message rather than a phone call, and lures you into taking the survey by offering a free gift. The survey starts out innocent, but then the caller requests your bank account or credit card number. Don’t give personal information to someone you do not know.

8. Verizon Customer? If you get a call on your cell phone saying you have a credit on your account, it could be a scam. The caller asks you to visit a special website to claim it. The website prompts you to enter your account username, password, and credit card information. Scammers are phishing for personal information!

9. Beware of Fake Instagram Accounts! The business appears to be real, and is offering free prizes to get more followers. After you “follow” the business, you start getting messages asking you to click on a suspicious link or share personal information. Do not do it! This is a scam!

10. Scam artists are calling consumers, offering a Free Federal Government Grant for being a good citizen. The “good citizen” is asked to call the Federal Grant Institution and provides a password. To obtain the money, you must pay $289 via Western Union or Money Gram for insurance on the grant. If you are interested in applying for a grant, go to