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Beware of holiday scammers

BIRMINGHAM, AL- The past few holiday seasons have been different for various reasons, and this year will be no different.

Scammers will look to take advantage of product shortages and an increase in online shopping to try and line their pockets this holiday season.

“Scammers thrive on need all year round,” BBB Serving Central and South Alabama Communications Manager Alex Derencz said.

“They take that to a whole new level during the holidays because they know people need to get all the items checked off their list and need to do that in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

In 2021, online shopping Scam Tracker reports reached an all-time high, and a recent BBB-wide study finds that financial losses across North America from online purchase scams could reach $380 million in 2022.

While online purchase scams could rise this holiday season, there are other scams that you need to be on the lookout for.

“The holiday season allows scammers to run a lot of plays in their playbook,” Derencz said.

“They can get you with a phishing scam by sending you a fake package delivery notice. They can reel you into donating to a fake charity. They can even try and get you with an employment scam. Scammers are like kids in a candy store at the holidays.”

BBB Serving Central and South Alabama officials want you to remember the following recommendations this holiday season:

Research before you buy; If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is; Make sure you use secure, trusted websites; Be cautious about purchasing sought-after items; Use payment methods that come with protection; Avoid making quick purchases via social media; Be wary of out-of-the-blue communications; Research a charity before making the donation.

“There is a simple way to avoid falling victim to a scam this holiday season: to shop with trusted, local retailers both in-person and online,” Derencz said.

If you think you spotted something that did not look right, report it to the new and improved BBB Scam Tracker.

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