Santa Knows Who’s Naughty and Nice, and So Does BBB

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Don’t let fraud and rip-offs ruin your holiday. The Better Business Bureau has teamed up with the fraud prevention team at Western Union to fill you in on some holiday scams to watch out for, and ways to prevent fraud all year long.

Better Business Bureau sees scams all year long, but in December, scammers are out in full force, taking advantage of people’s generosity and hectic schedules. Don’t let fraud and rip-offs ruin your holiday. The Better Business Bureau has teamed up with the fraud prevention team at Western Union to fill you in on some holiday scams to watch out for, and ways to prevent fraud all year long.

Holiday Scams to Look Out for This Year

  •     Ho Ho Hold On! Be careful when making purchases or planning holiday travel using free bulletin board sites like Craigslist. Scammers can make ads sound legitimate, but be wary of sending money to individuals you haven’t met in person. One particularly heartbreaking holiday fraud is the “puppy scam.” If you are asking Santa for a new pet for Christmas, be especially careful ordering online or answering ads.
  •     Seasonal Not-So-Dream Job: Looking to make some extra money over the holidays? Be cautious of seasonal work-from-home jobs like gift wrapper, and never send money for an employment opportunity. They should be paying you, not the other way around.
  •     Stranded at the North Pole? A family member is traveling and gets stranded by weather? Could be the “emergency scam” with a holiday twist. Before you send money to the North Pole, verify that it’s a real emergency.
  •     Money and Mistletoe Don’t Match Up: Who doesn’t want someone special under their mistletoe at Christmastime? Online dating sites see a surge in December, but scammers are lurking, too. Never send money to someone you haven’t met face-to-face.
  •     Don’t Give to the Grinch: Before you give to charity, make sure it’s a legitimate organization and one that you can trust. Go to give.org to see free reports from BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Tips for a Safe and Scam-Free Holiday Season

  •     Learn about scams. There are several major types of scams and, at this time of year, fraudsters just put a holiday spin on their usual pitches. Learn more at BBB Scam Stopper and sign up for our Scam Alerts so you hear about scams when we do.
  •     Test your scam smarts. Western Union, a BBB National Partner, has put together a Fraud Quiz to help you test your knowledge of scammers’ tricks and techniques.
  •     Be cautious of email sales pitches and social media ads. It’s easy to spoof the logo, email or website of popular brands and stores. Rather than clicking on links, go to your browser and type in the name of the company. For more online safety tips, check out STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
  •     Dealing with a new company or merchant? Check their BBB Business Review first to see what others have experienced. Find free reports on more than 4.5 million businesses at bbb.org.
  •     Make a New Year’s resolution to be scam-smart in 2015. Western Union has fraud information for more than 140 countries at wu.com/fraudawareness.

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About BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

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Katherine Hutt
CBBB
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