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NEWS FROM THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
This year, the holidays feel especially important to those searching for a sense of normalcy in an abnormal time. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), shoppers anticipate spending nearly $1,000 on gifts, decorations, food and additional “non-gift” items for themselves. NRF data also reveal that many consumers will not travel this year and instead spend more on holiday items.
Thanks to COVID-19, online shopping has evolved from a convenience to a necessity, and many will turn to their computers to complete their holiday shopping. Unfortunately, scammers are waiting to strike.
In October, BBB released a report detailing the spike of online purchase scams following the arrival of COVID-19. These scams, named one of the riskiest scams in BBB’s Risk Report, have made up nearly 40% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2020, costing victims an average of $93.
Use these tips from your Better Business Bureau to shop safe and smart during the holidays:
BBB offers these tips to holiday shoppers:
Watch for false advertising. Watch out for too good to be true offers, especially if you’re searching for the season’s hottest item. Avoid lookalike websites created by scammers by checking that the site is secure, the business’ name is spelled correctly and working contact information is provided.
Beware of phishing scams. You may receive unsolicited texts and emails prompting you to click a link to claim a prize or check on delivery statuses. Avoid opening these messages, as they could be part of a phishing scam. If you think it could be legitimate, hover your mouse over the link to see the true URL.
Update antivirus software. Keeping the antivirus software up to date on your devices gives you more protection against malware downloaded by phishing scams, pop-ups or unsafe websites.
The holidays are a time for giving as well as receiving. Each Giving Tuesday, people choose to support their favorite charities and organizations through volunteering, fundraising and donating. With limited in-person volunteering opportunities this year, many may choose to make donations instead. Use these wise giving tips from BBB to stay safe when donating:
Look for name similarities. Copycatames are commonly used by scammers looking to steal money from those looking to give back. Avoid mistaken identities by double checking the charity’s name before you donate.
Take time to research. The end of the year is a common time to make donations, and you may start receiving requests from unfamiliar charities. Research the organization’s mission and learn how your contribution will be used before donating.
Use standards-based evaluations. The best way for a charity to prove it is trustworthy is agreeing to in-depth evaluations. BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance has 20 standards for accountability, and you can visit Give.org for free access to charity reports.