Holiday Season

Dec 23, 2013 12:35 PM by MELISSA CANONE

Seven holiday scams to avoid

The Acadiana Christmas season is in full swing - consumers are shopping for friends, family and loved ones even as they donate money to help those less fortunate.

As Acadiana residents open both their hearts and wallets to buy gifts and spread good cheer to those in need, scammers are also out around the corner and on the web to take advantage of the season's generosity and kindness.

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana offers seven scams to avoid this Christmas season:

7: Bogus Websites
Sophisticated scammers can copy the logos of trusted websites and redirect you do their page, where unsuspecting consumers share credit card and bank account numbers on unsecure connections. Make sure that the site that you're on is secure - be sure there is a "https" in the web address before providing banking information.

6: Fake Holiday Deals
Your email inbox is likely flooded with deals from legitimate companies, but scammers and their bogus deals are there to draw you in too. Take time to make sure you are dealing with reputable companies by visiting bbb.org.

5: Santa Scammers
BBB says some sites that let you correspond with Saint Nick are really out to gather private information. Santa should not need an address, phone number or other information to accept your child's letter.

4: Fake Coupons
Whether shopping at the mall or online, you might be inclined to print out coupons to save money. Make sure they're from legitimate sites and never give out your private information to obtain them.

3: Malware e-cards
E-cards are a popular alternative to snail mail, but use caution, as some are virus spreaders in disguise. Be sure your computer is up to date with the latest virus and firewall protection before sending or accepting one.
2: Fake Charities
The best way to avoid those is by researching their reputation at bbb.org.

1: Stolen Gift Cards
A friend or family member receives a gift card that a consumer loaded with goodies, only to discover there is no money on the card. Scammers have used devices to steal the number when it's in the store. All they have to do is wait for you to activate it. If you give gift cards as gifts, try to buy ones that are near or behind the cash register.

Better Business Bureau works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. For more than 100 years, BBB has helped consumers make smarter buying decisions and is evolving to meet fast-changing marketplace needs.

BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

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