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Scams to Avoid this Holiday Season

The Better Business Bureau has released what they’re calling the “12 Scams of Christmas.”

A list of twelve scams that commonly catch people off guard during the holiday season.

Misleading social media ads top the list, which involves people purchasing products that they never receive, or receiving a product much different than the one advertised.

The Bureau’s President and CEO, Rosalind Scott says social media is where a majority of people are targeted.

“Social media is where the majority of people are the most vulnerable,” Scott says. “Exercise caution when coming across social media ads about discounted items, event promotions, job opportunities and donation requests, as well as direct messages from strangers. If you are asked to make a payment or donation by wire or e-transfer, through third parties, by prepaid debit or gift cards, treat this as a red flag.”

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There are always a few items that seem to be all the rage each December and go flying off the shelves. Common misleading social media ads can be low-priced versions of those high-value, fad items.

Other purchase-based scams include fake charities, fake virtual holiday events, and look-alike websites – which may lead to dead-end purchases or data theft.

Scammers may send false alerts related to your online activity as well. That includes fake shipping notification emails – which send fake tracking information for victims to click into to steal information or download malware.

Another alert-based scam is an alert about compromised accounts. For example, you’d receive an email saying your Netflix or Paypal accounts have been accessed by someone other than yourself. A link would be in the email to take action to resolve the problem by either sending your information or some funds. These scams can take the form of a text or call as well as email.

The Bureau also warns to be wary of how you add a furry friend to your home this holiday season. They say to always make sure that you see a pet in person before making a purchase.

The other scams listed include employment scams around seasonal positions, emails sent claiming to offer free gift cards, and holiday-themed phone apps which could charge you a nominal fee or contain malware.

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