Better Business Bureau Warns of Holiday Hoaxes
Anchorage, Alaska — December 10, 2014 — It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and potentially the most profitable for scammers. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has put together a list of 12 common Christmas schemes to help consumers stay safe this holiday season.
12. Holiday surveys: In an effort to take advantage of cash-strapped holiday shoppers, scammers pose as popular retailers, e-mailing fake surveys to consumers and promising a credit to their accounts. Links to the “surveys” are often malicious.
11. Suspicious Santa sites: Steer away from “Santa” websites that request unnecessary personal information. Be especially wary of sites that fail to disclose contact details and privacy policies.
10. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mill where dogs have health problems, or they may send money to a scammer and get nothing in return.
9. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Review charities first at give.org.
8. Pickpockets: Crowded malls and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season make it easy for thieves to grab purses and wallets.
7. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Make sure you are on a trustworthy website. Be suspicious of coupon sites that ask for personal information.
6. Stranded “grandkids”: The classic grandparent scam is still ongoing. Consumers should be suspicious of phone calls from a “family member” claiming to need help and asking for money to be wired overseas.
5. Malware e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware. Consumers should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.
4. Counterfeit gifts: Be suspicious of sites that offer the “must have” toys, gadgets or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. These deceptive deals, pop-up ads and social media posts often take consumers’ money but leave them empty handed.
3. Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift.
2. Travel scams: Watch out for unexpected hotel and flight “confirmation” or “cancellation” notices, which trick consumers into clicking unsafe links to stop unreal reservations.
1. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages. Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers’ computers.
Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119