The holidays are upon us, Christmas lists are in and the Better Business Bureau is busy checking who is naughty or nice.
To help Vancouver Islanders navigate the season, the organization has compiled a list of 12 grinchy scams to watch out for.
At the top of the list are social media scams, according to BBB CEO and president Rosalind Scott, who said that is where the majority of people are the most vulnerable. It could be misleading ads promising free trials but actually charging monthly fees, or fake small businesses that claim proceeds go to charity. Another common one is social media gift exchanges, where users send personal information and gifts or money to a stranger, thinking they’ll receive something back.
Besides social media, there are plenty of other red flags to watch out for.
Parents should be wary of what information is being collected by holiday-themed apps their children are downloading, according to the BBB. Free apps, it added, can contain malware.
People should also watch out for scammers claiming their streaming or banking accounts have been compromised, those that email fake shipping notifications or use look-alike websites, and others offering free gift cards. Links in these notifications can steal private information or download malware.
Temporary holiday jobs are another scammer hot spot. Opportunities that seem too good to be true could be set up to steal money or personal information from job applicants.
Shoppers looking to buy particularly sought-after items should be especially careful, according to the BBB. Scammers will often list sold-out items, knockoff designer or limited goods and non-existent puppies around the holidays. The BBB said buyers should always view an item in person before purchasing it.
Finally, people are reminded to watch out for fraudulent charities and fake online events that charge admissions fees.
Anyone who does spot a scam can report it to the BBB ScamTracker at bbb.org.
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