INDIANAPOLIS – The Better Business Bureau just released its “naughty list” detailing the most frequent scams of the holiday season.
According to ScamTracker.org, more than 5,000 Hoosiers fell for fraud between October and the new year. One person spent $995 on a fake online purchase. Another ended up losing $2,200 for fraudulent tech support right after Christmas.
The Better Business Bureau said criminals will set up fraudulent “shops” and instead of doing a proper business transaction, they’ll take a person’s money and either not send them anything at all or send a counterfeit item instead.
“We see Nike a lot,” said Tim Maniscalo, CEO and president of the Indiana BBB. “That’s probably the most popular counterfeited item, with their shoes and all their apparel. We also see designer purses, jewelry, watches, those types of things.”
CBS4 Consumer Investigations also did a story recently detailing how several people had ordered items online but didn’t get what they were expecting.
Retail experts said the biggest red flag someone will notice is if the price is too good to be true.
Package delivery scams
More and more people are shopping online and expecting those packages to be delivered. With that, the BBB has seen an increase in package delivery scams. People will send phishing emails or text messages with links attached. Often, they’ll claim the carrier needs an electronic signature or additional shipping fees.
“You’re going to click on that and a couple things could happen. It could download some malware into your computer or they could be asking you for some information–some personal information–or they might say there’s a problem here, we need your credit card or there is some sort of fee,” Maniscalo said.
The red flag: the phone number will appear to be someone’s personal phone number and the sender won’t identify themselves or the carrier. The grammar might be off and the link itself will look suspicious.
‘Tis the season for giving and scammers seem to know that.
“About a third of individual giving is done between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Scammers know this is the time when people give a lot of money, so there are a lot of fake charities out there,” Maniscalo said.
You may get a fake text message or email with a sympathetic story about someone needing money. Maniscalo warns it will likely pull at your heart strings.
There are several red flags you should watch out for. Hackers won’t provide proof that your contribution is tax deductible. They’ll typically ask that you donate in cash or to wire money. They’ll also want you to donate immediately or as soon as possible.
The BBB suggests you avoid impromptu donation decisions, especially to unfamiliar organizations. You can wait and do your research, then verify a charity on the BBB’s give.org.
Other popular scams to be aware of
The BBB said Hoosiers should also keep an eye out for misleading social media apps, social media gift exchanges, holiday-themed apps like Santa video-chats and sleigh-trackers that could contain malware, fake alerts about compromised accounts, offers for free gift cards, temporary holiday jobs, lookalike websites, pop-up holiday virtual events and puppy scams.
Editor’s note: Tim Maniscalo has since resigned from his role with the Better Business Bureau