Buyers Beware of 12 ‘Christmas Scams’, BC Better Business Bureau Warns


As the holidays approach, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​of Mainland BC is warning consumers of a handful of online scams with potentially costly consequences.

Most are facilitated by emails and social media platforms, according to the association, whose goal is to connect buyers with businesses they can trust.

On Monday, the BBB released the “12 Christmas Scams,” a list of common fraud schemes targeting cash and personal information.

“If you are asked to make a payment or donation by wire or wire transfer, through third parties, prepaid debit or gift cards, consider that a red flag,” the organization said in a statement. Press release.

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The first scam reported is “deceptive social media advertising,” which may claim to offer free trials or donate a portion of the proceeds to charity in order to entice consumers to order.

“BBB Scam Tracker receives reports from people paying for items they never receive, being billed monthly for a free trial they never signed up for, or receiving a counterfeit or significantly different item than advertised,” said the communicated.


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The organization also listed “social media gift exchanges” including buying $ 10 freebies online and pay-in-advance channels as common programs, in addition to “holiday apps.” which can offer children the opportunity to chat online with Santa, light a menorah or follow his sleigh.

“Review the privacy policies to see what information will be collected,” the BBB wrote of the apps offered for both Apple and Android.

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“Beware of free apps, because sometimes they can contain more advertising than apps that require minimal fees. Free apps can also contain malware.

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The fourth and fifth Christmas scams are “compromised account alerts”, which are often accompanied by unsolicited calls, texts and emails, and “free gift cards”, which typically ask for money. personal informations.

Consumers should not open such emails or click on links, the BBB warned, and scammers will often attempt to impersonate legitimate businesses to cheat you.

Scams Six and Seven are “temporary vacation jobs” and “similar websites”.

The former may offer seasonal work to meet the demands of the holidays while demanding money and personal information from the job seeker. The latter can deliver “endless emails” about sales and bargains while tricking people into downloading malware and sharing private information.


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The BBB is also warning British Columbians against “bogus charities” that attempt to solicit donations online. To avoid falling prey to such crooks, he recommended donating to familiar organizations only.

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Consumers may also encounter “fake shipping notifications,” which can be phishing emails whose links allow unwanted access to private information or encourage consumers to pay bogus shipping charges.

The tenth and eleventh scams are “pop-up virtual holiday events” and “the best holiday wishlist items”, in which the scammers charge for admission online for what was a free event or offer expensive products at incredibly low prices – most often knockoffs and fakes.

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The latest Christmas scam is the “puppy scam,” said the BBB, which is on the rise in 2021.

“Ask to see the animal in person before making a purchase,” the organization said.

Overall, the BBB advises consumers to do their “homework” before clicking on links or purchasing items online. Look for a seller first, he said, hover over a link to see where it leads, and if in doubt, throw the emails into the junk or spam folder.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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