Holiday Shopping Scams to Avoid

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Posted on 12/18/2012

While many people are at their most generous this time of year, there are plenty of holiday season scams, too. If you know what to look for you can avoid encountering one of these Christmas grinches.


Text Message Gift Card Scams The Better Business Bureau says the text message gift card scam is back for another holiday season. People report receiving a text message that says you've won a Best Buy, Target or Wal-Mart gift card. Clicking the provided URL takes victims to an authentic looking website which ends up being a sneaky way to get your personal information.


Online Counterfeit Goods
A recent study found that one in five shoppers ended up on sites selling counterfeit products. And with the busy holiday shopping season, ending up with fakes is a real risk. It's often tough to tell the difference but the BBB says you can spot a fake by going to whois.net to see who owns the site. If the registration is private be wary.


Fraudulent Gift Cards
It may be tempting to purchase gift cards at a discount from an auction website, but these could come with big problems. If the merchant discovers the card was initially obtained fraudulently they have the right to deactivate the card. Experts agree it's best to buy gift cards straight from the source.


Shipping Emails
Another common scam this time of year comes in the form of an email claiming that FedEx, UPS, DHL or the USPS is trying to deliver a package to you. They'll ask you to click a link for more information, but as soon as you do malware will be installed on your computer.


Old Fashioned Pick Pockets
Yes, even in the digital age pick pockets still exist. And with packed shopping malls, distracted shoppers make great targets. Keep close tabs on your wallet, zip your purse and review your banking activity regularly.


By Alison Storm


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