For Immediate Release
November 10, 2010
Contact: Sheri Sword, (937) 672-8065
Tis’ the Season for Holiday Scams
DAYTON, OHIO, November 10, 2010 - The holidays are a happy time for food, family and friendship, but they’re also a time for fraud. You can fall into a number of traps over the holidays and become victim to identity thieves, hackers and deceptive merchants online. Your Better Business Bureau is warning you to look out for five common scams this season.
“While the rest of us are pulling the decorations out of the attic, scammers are blowing the dust off of their tried and true holiday scams,” said John North, BBB president and CEO. “We can all help make these holiday scams a ghost of Christmas’ past by not falling for them anymore.”
Your BBB recommends being on the lookout for the following scams this holiday season:
Scam shopping sites online: We’re all looking for great deals online, but some sites offer electronics or luxury goods at too-good-to-be-true prices. Every holiday season, your BBB hears from holiday shoppers who paid for supposedly great deals online, but received nothing in return.
BBB advice: Always look for your BBB’s seal when shopping online and click on it to confirm it’s legitimate. When shopping on sites you’re unfamiliar with, check the business out with your BBB before buying.
Finding the season’s hottest toys and gadgets online: Every year, holiday shoppers fight over the season’s must have toy or gadget. When the item’s sold out in stores, you can often find it online through sites, like Craigslist or eBay, for a much steeper price. The problem is some sellers will take your money and run.
BBB advice: Shop locally on Craigslist and conduct transactions in person—never wire money as payment. When purchasing items on auctions, like eBay, research sellers extensively and always listen to your doubts if deals don’t sound legit.
Identity theft at the mall: While you’re struggling at the mall with bags of presents, identity thieves see opportunities to steal your wallet and debit or credit card numbers.
BBB Advice: Don’t get bogged down in purchases and lose track of your wallet. 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 the ATM.
Bogus charitable pleas: The holidays are a time of giving, which creates a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets. Also, beware of solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans.
BBB advice: Always research charities with your BBB and look for the BBB Charity Seal on solicitations and Web sites, indicating nonprofits meet your BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Phishing e-mails: Phishing e-mails are a common way for hackers to get your personal information or break into your computer. Common holiday phishing e-mails include e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or Fedex with links to package tracking information.
BBB advice: Don’t click on any links or open any attachments to e-mails until you’ve confirmed they’re not malicious. E-mail addresses that don’t match up, typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of malicious phishing e-mails. Also, beware of unsolicited e-mails from companies with which you have no association. Make sure you have current antivirus software and all computer security patches have been installed.
Contact your BBB for more advice on being a savvy consumer this holiday season or to check out businesses or charities. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses earning BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.