Better Business Bureau provides tips to avoid Christmas scams this holiday season

B.C.’s Better Business Bureau is out with the top scams to watch out for this season, whether you are last-minute Christmas shopping or donating to charities.

Aaron Guillen with the organization says it’s important to be aware of who you are giving information to and where you’re spending your money.

“If you end up getting scammed during the holidays, the first thing you should know is what information has been compromised,” he said. “If that is your credit card information, [call] your financial institution [and let] them know. A key thing here is catching that sort of scam experience in the first 90 days.”

Guillen also highlights one specific scam that he says circulated throughout the country last year.

“A scammer will take a gift card just … off the rack and get the code, and they’ll print off a sticker of that code and come back to the store and put a sticker on different gift cards that are not the original one,” he said. “Once you activate the card, you’re activating the scammer’s gift card instead.”

Another example of a scam is lookalike websites. Guillen says to be weary of emails with links enclosed, especially from companies you’ve never heard of before. The BBB says fake websites are created for victims to make dead-end purchases, download viruses, or give out private information.

“Always exercise caution with social media ads promoting discounted items, holiday events, job opportunities, and donation requests, as well as direct messages from strangers,” the bureau said. “If you are asked to make a payment or donation by wire transfer, through a third party, or by prepaid debit or gift card, treat it as a red flag.”

Other scams to look out for include fake texts saying you have been hacked, fake charities, and fake shipping notifications.

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