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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Eastern North Carolina
Holiday Scam Alerts
December 17, 2012

E-Card Scam:

E-cards are being used by scam artists as a disguise for phishing e-mails. With typical e-cards, the recipients receive an e-mail with a hyperlink that will take users to the e-card, which is housed on a Web site. Unfortunately, this is an easy way for scam artists to direct consumers to their Web site, which may install a virus on their computers.

Package Delivery Scam:

Hackers are sending phishing e-mails, with phony tracking numbers, informing consumers that there was an error with the delivery of their package. The e-mails instruct consumers to open an attachment to print out the correct delivery label and then to take the label to the nearest UPS or FedEx office. Upon opening the attachment, their computers are infected with malware. BBB advises consumers to delete the e-mail immediately.

Holiday Gift Card Scam:

BBB has received numerous calls regarding a text message offering a gift card from large retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart. BBB warns that this is a scam and urges consumers to avoid responding to the message or clicking on any links. In most cases, the text message claims that the consumer has won a $1,000 gift card from the retailer and instructs the consumer to follow a link to claim the gift card. Once the user clicks on the link, they are asked for personal information that could be used to steal his or her identity.

Bogus Charitable Pleas:

BBB reminds consumers to do their research before donating to a charity this holiday season, as the holidays create a great opportunity for scam artists to solicit for donations. Beware of solicitations from charities that may not deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans. It is also important to resist demands for on-the-spot donations. Visit bbb.org to view reports on charities this holiday season.

Online Shopping Scams:

When stores sell out of this season’s hottest items, you may find them online at sites such as Craigslist or eBay, but for a much steeper price. BBB reminds consumers to use caution when shopping for these items online, as some sellers may take your money and run. If you shop on Craigslist or other classified sites, look for local sellers and conduct transactions in person. Also, avoid wiring money as payment. When shopping on auction sites such as eBay, research sellers beforehand and avoid deals that sound too good to be true.