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BBB: Santa scammers, free gift cards part of common holiday cons

Posted at 9:17 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 17:40:45-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is a perfect time for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting targets. As shoppers set records on spending, the Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be prepared for those who may be looking to steal your holiday cheer.

According to the BBB, some common Holiday cons include:

Lookalike Websites: Remember, viruses and malware often travel in e-mail attachments or imitation websites. Use only trusted merchant sites by looking for the lock on the browser bar or ‘https’ where the S stands for secure encryption.

Santa Scammers: Before writing to Santa online, make sure the site is real and not gathering your data for identity theft purposes. A legitimate website will offer a robust privacy policy, purchase terms and contact information.

Fake Shipping Notifications: These false notification emails often use a legitimate shippers name and logo to trick you into opening the email and allowing thieves to gain personal information and passwords.

As for other schemes online shoppers should be wary of? How about these:

Free Gift Cards: Scammers use phishing emails and pop-up ads offering gift cards in exchange for surveys or information. Don’t click on any un-solicited email links or offer personal information.

Phony E-cards: Christmas cards are sent out this time of year and while some friends and family may be going high-tech by using e-cards, so are scammers. Avoid an e-card site prompting personal info.

Social Media Gift Exchange: Purchasing one gift and receiving several in return may sound like a harmless way to give and receive presents, but this seasonal scam is a pyramid scheme and is illegal.

Grandparents Scam: Thieves target seniors by posing as a grandchild or other family member and claim they need money for an emergency. They often urge family members to send gift cards or wire money.

Remember, when looking for a trustworthy business or charity, visit BBB.org or Give.org.

You may also report scams to BBB ScamTracker.