Look out for these ’12 scams of Christmas,’ Better Business Bureau warns

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The Better Business Bureau is warning about the “12 scams of Christmas” that make rounds every year.

Be mindful of these scams that could cut into your holiday cheer:

  1. Misleading social media ads: The BBB Scam Tracker receives reports of people paying for items they never received, being charged monthly for a free trial they never signed up for and receiving counterfeit products. When you see “flashy” ads pop up on social media, do your research before you click buy
  2. Social media gift exchanges: Variations of the same scam pop up every holiday season. They typically revolve around exchanging bottles of wine, books or small gifts. In each version, people share their personal information and can be tricked into buying and shipping gifts to unknown people
  3. Holiday apps: Before downloading dozens of holiday-themed apps from app stores, review the privacy policy to see what information will be collected. Be wary of free apps as they can sometimes contain malware
  4. Alerts about compromised accounts: The BBB has received reports on Scam Tracker of scams that claim people’s Amazon, PayPal, Netflix or even bank accounts were compromised. Victims are then tricked into thinking they need to provide personal and/or financial information in order to rectify their accounts
  5. Free gift cards: Scammers are known to send bulk phishing emails requesting personal information to receive free gift cards. They may also use pop-up ads or send text messages with links saying you’ve been selected as the winner of a prize. Do not click on any links and mark the messages as spam or junk
  6. Temporary holiday jobs: While many holiday jobs are legitimate, job seekers should beware of employment scams aimed at stealing money and personal information
  7. Look-alike websites: Be wary of emails with links; these may lead to look-alike websites created by scammers to trick people into downloading malware, sharing private information and more
  8. Fake charities: Typically, 40% of charitable donations are received during the last few weeks of the year, according to the BBB. Watch out for fraudulent charities and scammers pretending to be people in need. You can verify a charity at BBB’s give.org
  9. Fake shipping notifications: Scammers are using the surge in online shopping to send fake shipping notifications that are actually phishing attempts. They may also trick people into paying new (and unnecessary) shopping fees
  10. Pop-up holidays virtual events: Scammers have been reported creating fake event pages, social media posts and emails charging admission for what used to be a free holiday event. Confirm with organizations if there is an admission fee, and in cases where there is a charge pay with a credit card
  11. Top holiday wish list items: Low-priced luxury, big-ticket or popular items are almost always cheap counterfeits or knockoffs. Be cautious when purchasing high-value items
  12. Puppy scams: Many families, especially those with children, may be considering adding a friend to their household. When purchasing from a breeder or individual, always request to see the animal in person first before making a purchase
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