The holidays are a happy time for food, family and friendship, but they are also a time for fraud.
Consumers can easily fall victim to many scams over the holiday season, The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving southern Alberta and East Kootenays is warning holiday shoppers to look out for common scams this season.
“While the rest of us are pulling the decorations out of the attic, scammers are blowing the dust off of their tried and true holiday scams,” said Kara Hendriksen, spokesperson for BBB. “We can help make these holiday scams a ghost of Christmas’ past by not falling for them anymore.”
BBB recommends being on the lookout for the following scams this holiday season:
We’re all looking for a great deal online, but some sites offer electronics or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. Every holiday season, BBB hears from shoppers who paid for a supposedly great deal online, but received nothing in return.
Advice: Look for the BBB seal when shopping online and click on the seal to confirm it is legitimate. When shopping on sites that aren’t household names, check the business out with the BBB before you buy at calgary.bbb.org
Every year, holiday shoppers fight over the “must have” toy or gadget of the season.
When the item is sold out in stores, you can often find it online through sites like Kijiji or eBay — for a much steeper price. However, some sellers will take your money and run.
Advice: Shop locally on Kijiji and conduct the transaction in person — never wire money as payment. When purchasing items on auctions like eBay, research the seller and listen to your doubts if the deal doesn’t sound legitimate.
While you’re struggling through crowds of people at the mall with bags of presents, identity thieves see an opportunity to steal your wallet and debit or credit card numbers.
Advice: Don’t let yourself get bogged down in purchases and lose track of your wallet. Know where your credit and debit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your pin number while purchasing items or getting money from an ATM.