The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has named their top 12 scams of Christmas and warned consumers and donors to be alert this holiday season.
Several of the scams start with emails and social media platforms, where most people are vulnerable.
1. Misleading Social Media Ads
The most common cons and the category with the most victims are ads on social media that offer items that claim to support a charity or offer a free trial. The BBB says victims never receive the items, are charged monthly for something they never signed up for, or receive a counterfeit item that is much different than the one advertised. Always check the business at bbb.org and read the reviews.
2. Social Media Gift Exchanges
This scam suggests you can “pay it forward” by sending money to strangers, purchasing gift cards online or even a “Secret Santa” version where you buy a gift card for your “secret dog.” In this scam, people share their personal information, along with those of family and friends, and are tricked into buying and shipping gifts or money to unknown people, thinking they will receive something in return.
3. Holiday Apps
Be wary of holiday-themed apps, especially those for children, that will sometimes contain lots of advertising, as they may contain malware.
4. Alerts about Compromised Accounts
Phishing emails that look like your Amazon, Paypal, Netflix, bank emails and more, suggesting your account has been compromised. The email says there has been suspicious activity and urges you to click and link to fill out personal information.
5. Free Gift Cards
Scammers offering “free” gift cards in exchange for your personal information should be marked as spam or junk.
6. Temporary Holiday Jobs
Scammers who pose as employers offering employment will sometimes seek money and personal information from job applicants. Sometimes these offers are too good to be true.
7. Look-Alike Websites
Sometimes you will receive emails that look like other businesses you frequent and if you click on the link, the site may look like the website you frequent. These sites trick people into downloading malware, making dead-end purchases and sharing private information.
8. Fake Charities
Be alert for requests of money from scammers pretending to be individuals in need. Avoid impromptu donations to unfamiliar organizations or people.
9. Fake Shipping Notifications
Phishing emails that look like emails from businesses like FedEx and UPS, could ask for personal information to “verify” details or download malware to your device if you click on any links.
10. Pop Up Holiday Virtual Events
Scammers are creating fake event pages, social media posts and emails to charge admission to an event that is usually free.
11. Top Holiday Wishlist Items
Watch for super-low prices on luxury goods, jewelry, designer clothing and electronics that are in high demand due to the holiday season. High-demand items may not be shipped if you purchase them through social sites.
12. Puppy Scams
Always see a pet before you make a purchase.
For more information on all of these scams, visit bbb.org.
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