Watch out: Better Business Bureau warns of scams this holiday season

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 11:13 PM CST
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(KXII) - The holiday season is the busiest for most retailers, both in person and online.

That makes it the most vulnerable time of the year for your financial security, and scam artists are standing by.

“We’ve seen an increase recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Better Business Bureau spokeswoman Monica Horton. “We have more and more consumers that are purchasing, and shopping and buying things online, like never before.”

The BBB reported an increase in online shopping scams of 71% in 2020 since 2015.

Horton said the number one factor leading to fraudulent activity is the price.

“We always tell consumers, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That still holds true to this particular situation.” Horton said.

She said scam artists find ways to sound as real as possible, and can be very convincing.

It’s exactly what happened to Jarred Gilbert of Carter County.

“I had someone calling me claiming to be Amazon, telling me that I had an unauthorized purchase on my account.” Gilbert

Gilbert said he’s had his Amazon account for four years, and he’s never gotten a call from them.

“They went on to tell me that my son had spent eight hundred and ninety-nine dollars on an iPod or iPad of some sort” Gilbert said.

But Gilbert said whenever he’s had an issue with the company in the past, they always communicated via Email and never a phone call.

“When I told them I was going to ask my son about it, they immediately disconnected” said Gilbert.

“That’s what the crooks are banking on. They cast a wide net, and use this particular scenario to try and get hold of your information” Horton said.

She said most online shopping is safe, but every purchase should be made under a watchful eye and if something seems off, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“It’s important for consumers to know that fraudulent sites are everywhere. Just because something pops up in your social media feed, does not mean it is a valid, good website” Horton said.

News 12 reached out to Amazon, and the retail giant said this: “Any customer that receives a questionable email or call from a person impersonating an Amazon employee should report them to Amazon customer service. Amazon investigates these complaints and will takes action, if warranted.”

For a full list on how you can stay safe while shopping online, click here.

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