Tyler Better Business Bureau
Every year, thousands of shoppers fall victim to the holiday deals that seem too good to be true, and the bogus charity pleas that pull at the heart strings.
If you shop Craigslist or other free bulletin board sites, look for local sellers and conduct transactions in person.
Bring a friend if you’re uncomfortable meeting the seller alone. Never wire money as payment.
If you’re shopping on auctions like eBay, look at seller ratings and read their reviews. Don’t buy if the deal sounds too good to be true.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down in purchases or lose your wallet. While you’re struggling with bags of presents, identity thieves may see an opportunity to steal your wallet or look over your shoulder to copy your debit or credit card numbers.
Know where your credit and debit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your PIN while purchasing items or getting money from an ATM.
Always research charities with BBB before you give to see if the charity meets BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. The holidays are a time of giving, and that creates an opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets.
Beware of solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans.
Don’t click on any links or open any attachments to emails until you have confirmed that they are not malicious. Phishing emails are a common way for hackers to get at your personal information or break into your computer.
Around the holidays, beware of e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or FedEx with links to package tracking information.
Email addresses that don’t match up, typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of a malicious phishing email.
Also beware of unsolicited emails from companies with which you have no association. Make sure you have current antivirus software and that all security patches have been installed on the computer.
For more holiday tips that you can trust, visit www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.