Christmas Scams to Lookout For

November 17, 2015

Vancouver, BC – It’s closing in on December and despite the cold weather, the biggest shopping season of the year is starting to warm up. Canadians typically spend in the range of 30 billion dollars over the holiday season. That includes everything from candy canes to ski trips in Whistler. Scammers know that we are more likely to spend and give more over the next few months than any other time of the year.

“Our warnings definitely have a seasonal flavour,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “However it’s no mystery that we tend to be more giving and free with our cash this time of year. This can lead to being more impulsive and less cautious with how we spend our money and who we give it to. And remember, if the price is too good to be true, it could be a scam.”

BBB takes a look at some of the issues we see year after year:

Charity Scams

  • Do your research
  • Give to those organizations you’ve given to in the past
  • Be the instigator
  • Be wary of new crowdfunding links that prey on our emotions
  • Check with the Canada Revenue Agency for a charity’s legitimacy and financials

Christmas E-Card Scams

  • If you don’t know who it’s from, don’t open it
  • Make sure there is a real family name instead of generic “From your Son!”
  • Contact the person who sent it to see if the actually did
  • Update your antivirus protection
  • Don’t click on any links if you are uncertain

Holiday Travel Scams

  • Book travel through reputable websites and travel companies
  • If booking through portals like Air BnB, research the property you wish to rent
    • Follow all of their terms and conditions
    • Look for online reviews of the property
    • Look for property where you can meet the owners on arrival
    • Buy cancellation insurance and read the fine print for any booking you make
    • Be wary of specials that ask you to act now!

Gift Card Scams

  • Make sure in-store cards have not been tampered with
  • Make sure you are on a secure and reputable website if buying them online
  • Buy gift cards directly from the source

Fake Package Tracking Information

  • Beware of phishing emails that claim to be from well-known shipping companies like UPS or FedEx
  • Don’t click on any suspicious links
  • Confirm with friends or relatives if anyone has sent anything that requires picking up
  • These companies would usually leave a card at your home indicating where you can pick up your parcel, and would not send you an email



 Media Contacts:

 Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor BBB Serving Mainland BC                                                                                                              604-488-8702                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          404-788 Beatty Street                                                                                                                                                                                          Vancouver, BC                                                                                                                                                                                                                V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2014, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 1.8 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.