Scammers! Don't you hate them? Their trickery and deceptions are part of our daily lives. Whether online or on your phone, they are out there targeting the most vulnerable members of society. And now that the holidays are coming around, these "Bad Santas" are increasing their efforts to bilk you of your hard-earned dollars. You really need to know how to avoid being taken to the cleaners for Christmas!

So, here is a little help for you... a Christmas list of sorts, and a naughty list to be sure!

Social Media Platforms are where most people are vulnerable...

Consumers need to watch out for any fraudulent schemes aimed at swiping their cash and stealing personal information. Better Business Bureau has provided us with a Naughty List with the Top 12 scams of Christmas that are most likely to catch consumers and donors off guard during this holiday season.

Many of the scams on this well-compiled list are facilitated through emails and social media platforms, but the latter is where most people are vulnerable.

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Here are BBB's Top 12 Scams of Christmas that can really mess up your holiday...

(If you see these... steer clear)

Misleading Social Media Ads:

As you scroll through your social media feed, you often see items for sale from a small business. Sometimes the business even claims to support a charity to try to get you to order, or they offer a free trial.

Social Media Gift Exchanges:

Each holiday season this scheme pops back up, and this year is no different. A newer version of this scam revolves around exchanging bottles of wine; another suggests purchasing $10 gifts online.

Holiday Apps:

Apple's App Store and Google Play list dozens of holiday-themed apps where children can video chat live with Santa, light the menorah, watch Santa feed live reindeer, track his sleigh on Christmas Eve, or relay their holiday wish lists.

Alerts About Compromised Accounts:

BBB has been receiving reports on Scam Tracker about a con claiming your Amazon, Paypal, Netflix or bank account has been compromised. Victims receive an email, call, or text message which explains that there has been suspicious activity on one of their accounts, and it further urges them to take immediate action.

Free Gift Cards:

Nothing brings good cheer like the word 'FREE'. Scammers have been known to take advantage of this weakness by sending bulk phishing emails requesting personal information to receive free gift cards.

Temporary Holiday Jobs:

Retailers typically hire seasonal workers to help meet the demands of holiday shoppers. Shippers and delivery services are top holiday employers this year because of the increase in online orders and the need to get most of these packages delivered before Christmas.

Christmas stress - busy santa woman

Look-Alike Websites:

The holiday season brings endless emails offering deals, sales, and bargains. Be wary of emails with links enclosed. Some may lead to look-alike websites created by scammers to trick people into downloading malware, making dead-end purchases, and sharing private information.

Fake Charities:

Typically, 40% of all charitable donations are received during the last few weeks of the year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had to cancel their usual fundraising events and awareness campaigns and are now inviting donors to support online. Donors are advised to look out for fraudulent charities and scammers pretending to be individuals in need.

Fake Shipping Notifications:

More consumers are making purchases online, there is also an increase in the number of notifications about shipping details from retailers and carriers.

Pop Up Holiday Virtual Events:

This year, many local in-person events such as pop-up holiday markets or craft fairs, have moved online. Scammers are creating fake event pages, social media posts, and emails, charging admission for what used to be a free event.

Top Holiday Wishlist Items:

Low or ridiculously priced luxury goods, jewelry, designer clothing, and electronics are almost always cheap counterfeits and knockoffs. This year, the Galactic Snackin’ Grogu Animatronic (aka Baby Yoda) and game consoles are some of the items in high demand.

Puppy Scams:

Many families, especially those with children, might be considering adding a furry friend to their household this year. However, you could fall victim to pet scams, which are on the rise this year.

That last one... well, that one makes me a little ill. You can read more about pet scams HERE.


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