BBB Alerts That Scammers Are On The Prowl This Holiday Season

Nov 24, 2021

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. 

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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