In preparation for their Christmas shopping consumers aremaking their lists and checking them twice but before the buying begins theyneed to be aware of the scams that could ruin an otherwise joyous occasion, theBetter Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois offers this listthat consumers also need to check “The Christmas Top 10”.
“Vigilance is the word” said Steve J. Bernas, president andCEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.“Whether you’re making a donation, shopping online or in stores, scammers areon the look-out for you and you should do the same for them. Keep, your eyesand ears open.”
What should consumers look for this holiday season?
· DearSanta Websites – Parents should pay close attention to websites theirchildren visit to avoid those that lure children into divulging too muchinformation about themselves.
· Recalledtoys – For the safety of their children shoppers should make themselvesaware of what toys have been recalled. While they may have been removed fromstore shelves that may not be the case for online sites.
· HotHoliday Gifts – There are thousands of new items introduced at Christmas,especially electronics. Consumers should be suspicious of any deal that offersmerchandise at extremely low prices and should verify the offer with theretailer involved.
· Fake FEDEx/UPSemails – Be wary of unexpected urgent emails from a shipper that requestmoney or personal and/or financial information for the delivery of a package.
· Phony E-tailers– Finding those treasures online is easy but you must be careful in selectingwhich site to shop. Fake e-commerce sites lure buyers with great deals, collectcredit/debit card and other personal information and no products are everydelivered. If you are shopping a site for the first time check other user’sreviews and verify that the phone number and other information provided on thesite is legitimate.
· FakeCharities – Don’t ever give money to any charity without checking them outfirst. Whether they are making the ask on your porch or online. If theOrganization needs the money today, they will need it tomorrow – legitimatecharities have no problem answering your questions and waiting for yourdonation.
· BogusGift Cards – Gift cards are easy and for some the perfect gift for manypeople. Be careful buying gift cards online or from third parties. It is bestto make your purchase from the official retailer.
· Layawayplans – To avoid feeling scammed by a layaway plan, be sure to closelyexamine all terms and conditions. In some cases retailers charge upfront fees,and if you fail to make a payment you may lose the fee you paid and be chargeda “restocking” fee.
· Dangerouse-cards – E-cards are a quick and easy way to say thank you or send aholiday greeting but you need to use caution because some may be malicious andcontain spyware or viruses.
· IdentityTheft – 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.
To avoid those Grinch’s who would ruin your Christmas followthese rules:
1. Stay suspicious
2. Practice safe surfing
3. Practice safe shopping
4. Use strong passwords
5. Be careful when clicking
6. Educate yourself
7. Update your computers virus protection program
For more information on scams visit www.bbb.org.