‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and those last minute consumers who frantically search for the best deal possible. Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut urges consumers to be prepared, and lookout for scammers hoping to take a bit of your holiday cheer.
BBB shares “The 12 Scams of Christmas” and ways to identify and avoid them.
- Review the sender’s address, as businesses will often send emails with a proprietary address, like @BBB.org.
- Look for misspellings throughout the email.
- Hover over links without clicking to see where they reroute.
- Only enter sensitive information into a website that begins with “https” as the “s” informs you that it’s secure and information entered is encrypted.
- Verify the situation by calling the family member directly.
- Check with other family members to see if the claims are true.
- Be wary if you’re asked to wire money or send gift cards in place of making a payment with a credit card.
- Apply for a job in person or by going directly to the retailer’s website (not following links).
- Be wary of anyone requiring you to submit personal information over the phone or online before meeting for an interview.
- Be suspicious of a job that requires you to pay for equipment or software upfront.
- Don’t open the email as it can be a phishing attempt. If you do, don’t click the links and mark the email as SPAM or JUNK.
- Avoid sharing any personal information to receive the card as the scammers will use the information to steal your identity later.
- Whether or not the sender’s name is easily visible.
- Be wary if you are required to enter personal information to open the card.
- Look for an attachment that ends in “.exe” which indicates an execute command and could download a virus. Do not open it.
- Most online vendors provide tracking information directly on their website. Use that to track your package instead of links sent via email.
- You are not required to pay money to receive a package, that payment was made when you made your purchase.
- Delivery services do not need personal information to deliver your items.
- Look for sound-alike names
- Verify the Charity at Give.org
- Review the charities website to make sure they specify their plans for donations and how they will be used to address the issues they claim to combat.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails offering special prices or packages for letters from Santa.
- Check BBB.org to verify the legitimacy of any company that offers letters from Santa.
- Prepaid debit or gift cards
- Wire transfers
- Be cautious when it comes to email offers, especially if it is from an unknown sender or company.
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
- Research the company or website offering the deal.
- Do an image search online of the photo given of your pet. If multiple websites pop-up, it’s probably a scam.
- Know what prices to expect because if the cost seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Search BBB.org for accredited breeders and rescue shelters.
- Never pay using a money order or via the Western Union or Moneygram. Use a credit card, which will give you the added protection of being able to dispute the charges.
- Keeping a close eye on your financial statements and quickly disputing any unrecognized charges.
- Submitting a report to BBB Scam Tracker (whether or not you lost money)
- Filing a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
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