Consumer Guide

Better Business Bureau warns of '12 Scams of Christmas'

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On the first day of Christmas a scammer gave to me...a plot to steal my money.

According to the Better Business Bureau, crooks very often use the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to prey on people in an effort to relieve them of their hard-earned cash.

In order to help consumers protect themselves from being swindled, the nonprofit released its "12 Scams of Christmas," which range from imposter websites to phony charities to puppy scams.

But it's not just shoppers who are targeted, according to the BBB's Paula Fleming. She says people looking to pick up some extra work around the holidays should be wary of job offers online that seem too good to be true.

"It's unfortunate, because a lot of people are looking to make extra money for gifts and they're getting duped," Fleming said. "They think it's a reliable business because it's a lookalike website, so you have to be very careful."

Fleming said one red flag to look out for is an employer asking for money up front for training materials. That's typically a scam, according to Fleming. 

Instead of following a link through email or social media, Fleming suggests conducting your own research online or calling prospective employers directly.

When it comes to online shopping, Fleming advised using a credit card instead of a debit card and making sure the site you're buying from is secure.

"You can do that simply by looking at the URL, making sure it says 'https' for secure, to make sure it's not a scam that someone's trying to hook you in for personal information," she explained.

Fleming also warned about the puppy scam, in which crooks lure in customers with adorable pictures of the perfect family pet but never actually follow through.

"Specifically, we're seeing an increase on social media where they're pulling on your heartstrings," Fleming said. "You put a down payment then they ask for more money and more money and you never get a puppy."

To report a suspected scam or look through recent reports in your area, visit the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.

Learn More: BBB's 12 Scams of Christmas » | BBB Scam Tracker »


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