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

December 11, 2013

In preparation for their Christmas shopping consumers aremaking 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 Western Michigan offers this list that consumers also need to check “The Christmas Top 10”.

What should consumers look for this holiday season?

Dear Santa Websites – Parents should pay close attention to websites theirchildren visit to avoid those that lure children into divulging too muchinformation about themselves.

Recalled toys – For the safety of their children shoppers should make themselvesaware of what toys have been recalled. While they may have been removed fromstore 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 offersmerchandise at extremely low prices and should verify the offer with theretailer 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 selectingwhich site to shop. Fake e-commerce sites lure buyers with great deals, collectcredit/debit card and other personal information and no products are everydelivered. If you are shopping a site for the first time check other user’sreviews and verify that the phone number and other information provided on thesite is legitimate.

Fake Charities – Don’t ever give money to any charity without checking them outfirst. Whether they are making the ask on your porch or online. If theOrganization needs the money today, they will need it tomorrow – legitimatecharities have no problem answering your questions and waiting for yourdonation.

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

Layaway plans – To avoid feeling scammed by a layaway plan, be sure to closelyexamine 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 chargeda “restocking” fee.

Dangerous e-cards – E-cards are a quick and easy way to say thank you or send aholiday greeting but you need to use caution because some may be malicious andcontain 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 followthese rules:

Stay suspicious

Practice safe surfing

Practice safe shopping

Use strong passwords

Be careful when clicking

Educate yourself

Update your computers virus protection program

For more information on scams visit