With the pandemic surging this Christmas season, many shoppers will be looking to go online to shop.  The Better Business Bureau says to be careful because scammers are waiting.

One way scammers are looking to rip people off is by using a local annual holiday market or event that will be held virtually this year.  They'll find these events, which had been free in the past, and then trick people into thinking the event now requires a paid ticket to participate.  They'll then ask for your personal information and payment information.

I think we all see where this is going.  They aren't selling tickets, they are just trying to obtain your personal information to use for their benefit and to take your money.

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Another holiday scam involves hijacking virtual holiday markets that have a website or social media page where vendors can post photos of their products and links to their websites. Consumers are reporting that when they click on the links, they do not lead them to an online shop.  What does happen is the sites downloaded malware.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid holiday event scams:

  • Be wary of admission fees. Visit the event’s website to see if you need to purchase an admission ticket for the virtual event. If not, watch for scammers trying to claim otherwise. If this happens, message the event coordinator to help prevent other virtual attendees from being scammed.
  • Research vendors and the host. If the event is unfamiliar to you, research the host and list of vendors ahead of time. While virtually browsing from booth to booth, make sure you are only clicking on the links provided. If you are unsure if a shop is legitimate do an online search for that vendor’s store rather than follow the link provided.
  • Use a credit card. When making any purchases, use your credit card. This way if anything gets charged that wasn’t supposed to be, you can file a claim with your credit card company.
  • Keep your receipts. Make note of all of your purchases and save your receipts. If you have a question about a product or need to make a return, you will have the vendor’s information readily available.
  • Know the return policy. Before making a purchase, ask the vendor what their return policy is so you will not run into issues after the holidays.

Have a very merry Christmas season and be careful out there online.

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