While many are looking forward to the holidays, taking a much-needed respite from the woes of the world, scammers are gearing up for a new holiday season of swindling.
This year, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has published what they call their “Naughty List” with the top scams that can catch shoppers off guard this holiday season.
Social media platforms and emails are where most of these scams will be rolled out. Prime targets for scam activity will be on social media platforms. If consumers come across social media ads that feature deeply discounted items, job ads, donation requests, or event promotions, they are well-advised to exercise extreme caution.
Beware Of These Holiday Scams
To ensure that your holiday cheer is not hampered by fraudsters, here is a list of potential scams that you need to look out for:
- Deceptive Social Media Ads
Be watchful of small business ads in your social media feed. Many times, they will offer a free trial of their product or say that they support a charity to entice you to make a purchase.
The BBB Scam Tracker has received many reports where customers have ordered and paid for items online, never to receive them. Others have complained that they are being charged for a monthly trial they never enrolled in.
Meticulously research the company before you order from them. Even better? Check out their BBB profile and read the reviews.
- Holiday Apps
This year’s holiday-themed apps found on Apple’s App Store and Google Play feature many virtual activities for children to enjoy. Always take the time to review their privacy policies to determine what data is being collected.
Free apps will always have loads of advertising versus those that request a “nominal” fee. Also, be aware that free apps may contain malware.
- Free Gift Cards
Scammers know full well that consumers love free stuff. So much that they will send phishing emails in bulk, promising free gift cards in exchange for their personal information.
If you ever receive an unsolicited email announcing free gift card offers, it’s best not to open it and re-route it to your Spam or Junk folder. If you happen to open the email, refrain from clicking on any links.
- Seasonal Holiday Jobs
Retail companies tend to hire more temporary workers to meet the increased demand of holiday shoppers. With the surge in online orders due to the pandemic, not to mention the supply chain dilemma, shippers and delivery services will be the top employers this holiday season to ensure that customers receive their packages before Christmas.
As always, job seekers must be vigilant about avoiding employment scams where they are asked for money and other personal information. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Dead Ringer Websites
Be ready for the endless onslaught of emails to hit your inbox, full of last-minute deals, sales, and discounts. Be especially cautious of emails that have links enclosed. Some may direct you to websites that are a “dead ringer” for official retail websites concocted by scammers.
Scammers use these look-alike websites in order to deceive you into downloading malware, making “dead-end purchases”, and even convince you into sharing private information. When in doubt about an email’s origins, it is best not to click on its links. Instead, simply hover over it to see where it is being rerouted.
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
Let’s face it, scammers are never going away. The best way to avoid being scammed is by being proactive, staying vigilant, and informed.
Also, as more consumers choose social media as a platform to shop, more shoppers are set to fall victim to scams. If consumers believe they have been scammed, they are encouraged to submit a report to the BBB.