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Avoid common Christmas scams this holiday season

LAWRENCEVILLE — Christmas is a time of giving, but for some, it’s a time for taking.

The Better Business Bureau has shared the following warnings for common Christmas scams and frauds.

  • Malware e-cards: Viruses and malware often travel in email attachments or links. Don’t click on an e-mail from someone you don’t know or a name you don’t recognize. When it doubt, hit delete.
  • Fake FEDEx/UPS emails: Be wary of unexpected urgent emails from a shipper that request money or personal and/or financial information for the delivery of a package.
  • Stranded grandchildren: It’s the classic “grandparent scam.” If your grandchild, other relative or friend calls or emails to say they were robbed or hurt overseas, check before wiring money.
  • Counterfeit gifts: Low prices on luxury goods are almost always cheap counterfeits. At best, you’ll look like a Scrooge. At worst, you may be helping finance drug traffickers or terrorists.
  • Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It’s easy for a scammer to sell you the card, then pull off the funds before you can even give the gift.
  • Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer’s real website. Be especially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
  • DearSanta websites: Parents should pay close attention to websites their children visit to avoid those that lure children into divulging too much information about themselves.
  • Fake charities: Charities count on end-of-the-year giving, so be generous if you can. But be careful, too, because scammers set up fake charities with similar sounding names. Check out nationally soliciting charities at bbb.org/charity.
  • Bogus websites: It’s easy to mimic a real website, with logos and everything. Red flags include http —not the more secure https — no contact information, asking for payment by wire or money card.
  • Phony E-tailers: Finding those treasures online is easy but you must be careful in selecting which site to shop. Fake e-commerce sites lure buyers with great deals, collect credit/debit card and other personal information and no products are every delivered. If you are shopping a site for the first time check other user’s reviews and verify that the phone number and other information provided on the site is legitimate.
  • Identity theft: Use caution while shopping online. Look for third party “trust seals” such as BBB Online. And make sure you know who you are doing business with.
  • Travel scams: With busy holiday travel, bargains may be tempting. Be cautious when booking through online ads, never wire money to someone you don’t know and ask for references.
  • Puppy scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially at the holidays. You may get a puppy mill pooch with problems, or you may get nothing at all because it was a scam.

For more information on scams visit bbb.org.