The craziness of the holiday season makes us vulnerable to scams - online, at the mall or when we think we're doing good. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to stay alert to the red flags that can signal a scam.
In short, the scams include:
- Online shopping scams that offer goods at prices that are too good to be true. In many cases, these are scams aimed at obtaining your personal information to commit fraud. Make sure you're shopping on secure websites, where payment pages begin with https://, and check a site's BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.
- Classified online ads that offer the season's hottest toys - but at exhorbitant prices. The BBB advises consumers to deal with local sellers, and take a friend along if you're uncomfortable meeting the seller alone.
- Identity theft at the mall. Some thieves may try to look over your shoulder when you're using a debit or credit card, while others may try to steal your wallet when you're loaded down with packages. The BBB advises consumers to be aware of who might be looking when you're entering information, and keep your wallet and cards secure at all times.
- Bogus charitable pleas. Some scammers take advantage of consumers' spirit of giving to ask for donations that line their own pockets. Always check the BBB for a Charity Review before donating to an unfamiliar charity.
- Phishing emails. A common scam at this time of year is a notice that appears to be from a prominent shipping company or online retailer notifying consumers that they need to enter some information or pay a fee to get a package. Don't click on links in these emails or enter your information, especially if the notice is for a package you didn't order.