Shopping on line for holidays? BBB offers safety tips
Consumers who let down their guard during the hectic holiday season can easily fall prey to scammers poised to pounce on careless or overburdened shoppers, the BBB warns. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has identified five common scams that consumers should watch out for during the holidays, whether they’re shopping online, juggling packages at the mall or simply reading their e-mail.
“While the rest of us are checking off items on our gift lists, scammers are blowing the dust off of their tried and true holiday scams,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “By being vigilant, consumers can help turn holiday scams into ghosts of Christmases past.”
2. Nabbing the season’s hottest toys and gadgets online: When stores sell out, you may find the items online at sites like Craigslist or eBay— but for a much steeper price. Some sellers will take your money and run, leaving you without the gift or money to buy it elsewhere.
3. Identity theft at the mall: While you’re struggling with bags of presents, identity thieves may see an opportunity to steal your wallet or look over your shoulder to copy your debit or credit card numbers.
4. Bogus charitable pleas: The holidays are a time of giving, and that creates an opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans. Resist demands for on-the-spot donations.
5. Phishing e-mails: Phishing emails are a common way for hackers to get at your personal information or break into your computer. Around the holidays, beware of e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or Fedex with links to package tracking information.
For more advice on how to be a savvy consumer this holiday season or to find BBB Business Reviews of businesses or charities, call (314) 645-3300 or go online to www.bbb.org.