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Be aware: Scammers working hard to trick holiday shoppers

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 16:55:06-05

No matter how early you plan to finish your holiday shopping, the National Retail Federation says 150 million Americans will do the majority of their shopping the week before Christmas, both online and in-person.

With Christmas just around the corner, scammers are ready to take advantage of last-minute gift givers.

The pandemic has amplified scams all across the country, so experts say it's no surprise the same is being seen during the holiday season.

Representatives with the Better Business Bureau say scammers are working harder than ever to make their tricks harder to spot.

“Scammers are always one step ahead of the curve. They’re always figuring out protocols. We’ve seen an influx of online shopping scams of all varieties, not just with the holidays, but because of the pandemic, it’s kind of like a two-fold attack,” said Jason Meza, Regional Director for the Better Business Bureau.

On top of price gouging and stimulus check scams still circulating throughout our community, Meza says they have received reports of the typical holiday scams.

“We’ve seen the traditional employment scams re-emerge. People are looking for jobs online, and they get looped into a phony job offer and give up a lot of information that’s sensitive. We’ve seen a lot of the data breaches from people giving up information, allowing perpetrators to access their personal information," he said.

These scams can come in any form, like text messages, phone calls or emails. One holiday shopper, J.C. Holland, says he gets suspicious emails all the time, but he never falls prey

“Normally it’s the way the email is phrased, or another one is an email that I don’t know anything about. Most of the times I just click delete,” said Holland.

Meza explains that most of us have gotten pretty good at spotting email scams, but with so many of us shopping online, getting text messages from random numbers appearing to have tracking information for packages are harder to spot.

“The more generic and less information that is offered should be the first red flag. If your name is not included, if your exact banking information isn’t included, it’s best to air on the side of caution or ignore or even delete or report those messages that come through for your text,” Meza added.

Whether you are shopping in person or online, Meza advises using a credit card, because they are a little more secure than your debit card. Plus if there is an issue, it's easier to dispute the charge.

If you have gotten scammed, Meza advises reporting it to the Better Business Bureau so they can keep track of it on their scam tracker. However, if you don’t feel comfortable reporting it to them, Meza says it's always good to post on social media to ensure others are aware.