COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Some deals are just too good to be true. Both in-person and online, holiday scams have returned this season.
Of the five scams the BBB are tracking this season, three are online. Websites and social media sometimes draw customers in with great deals or ads for popular items that might’ve sold out, then scam the customer out of their money. Additionally, email phishing seems to pick up around the holidays.
Not all of these scams are over the internet though. When shopping in person at busy areas like the mall, the BBB warns to be on the lookout for identity thieves.
“So these scams are extra prevalent this time of year just because more people are shopping,” Nick Knoth, the Better Business Bureau Regional Director for Columbia said. “And folks are sometimes desperate or really wanting to buy their loved ones or their kids, you know, the exact item that they want.”
The non-profit said they’ve noticed an increase in customers using online platforms for their holiday shopping since the pandemic. With the transition to online shopping, the scams followed too.
“It's a really easy place for scammers to come in and either steal your wallet or your purse,” Knoth said. “It’s just as easy to watch you enter your pin code for your debit card… People are watching for that. They are trying to get your money. It's just a matter of fact this time of year.”
He recommends keeping an eye on credit and debit cards, and to cover keypads when entering pin numbers.
Additionally, he said when finding questionable deals, be sure to do research. Scams can be found and reported at https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker. Those who’ve experienced a scam can help prevent them from continuing by alerting local authorities at 311.
“We always wanna caution folks, do your research,” Knoth added. “Use the free services that are available to you… just be sure that you're protecting yourself, protecting your family, and your financial information and those hard earned dollars this time of year.”