St. Louis, MO (KTRS) Holiday Grinches are out to steal your Christmas. This has the Better Business Bureau of St. Louis warning consumers not to fall victim to holiday scams.
“Scammers know that people can be trusting this time of year,” said Michelle Corey, BBB President and CEO. “The best way to thwart scammers is to be cautious and make sure you’re working with trustworthy businesses.”
The BBB has a list of five holiday scams to avoid fallen victim to these con artist Grinches.
Con artists often lurk in cyberspace with online shopping scams. The BBB reports some websites offer electronics or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. As a result, the BBB hears from shoppers during the holiday season who paid for a “great deal” online, but received little or nothing in return.
The BBB said you can ward off this scam by looking for the BBB seal when shopping online, and click on it to confirm that it’s legitimate. Also, if you’re shopping on sites that you’re not familiar with, check out their BBB Profiles, confirm that the company has a physical address and telephone number and make sure that any pages where you enter personal or financial information have https:// at the beginning of the address or URL.
Con artists also prey on consumers with popular toys and gadgets. When stores sell out, you may find these in demand items online at sites such as Craigslist or eBay, but at much higher prices. This can result in the seller taking your money without ever delivering the merchandise.
Identity theft at shopping malls is another method con artists use to target consumers. Shoppers struggling with bags of presents is an opportunity for to steal wallets or look over your shoulder to copy your debit or credit card numbers.
The BBB recommends having a plan to keep your money and ID safe. You should know where your credit and debit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your pin number while purchasing items or getting money from an ATM.
Tis’ the season for giving. Con artists see this as a perfect time prey upon those with this holiday generosity. You should beware of solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans and resist demands for on-the-spot donations. In addition, always research charities through the BBB.
Finally, beware of holiday phishing emails. These are a common way hackers use to get at your personal information or break into your computer. Around the holidays, beware of e-cards and messages claiming to be from companies such as UPS, Federal Express or major retailers with links to package tracking information.
The BBB advises not to click on any links or open any attachments to emails until you have confirmed that they are not malicious. Some emails can infect your computer with a virus or download malware if you click on a link.
Those who suspect they be a victim of a scam should contact the BBB online at www.bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.