BBB warns of 12 scams of Christmas

December 18, 2013 

The Better Business Bureau is reminding Tri-Citians to beware the 12 scams of Christmas.

Common holiday scams and frauds include:

-- E-cards with viruses and malware: don’t click on an e-mail from someone you don’t know. When it doubt, delete, BBB says.

-- The classic grandparent scam: check that a grandchild, relative or friend was really overseas before wiring money.

-- Counterfeit gifts: low prices on luxury goods may mean cheap counterfeits.

-- Pickpockets: keep purses and wallets secure when shopping.

-- Stolen gift cards: always buy gift cards from reputable dealers, instead of online or from individuals, since it’s simple for a scammer to sell the card, then pull off the funds.

-- Fake coupons: only download coupons from a retailer’s real website and beware of coupon sites that ask for personal information.

-- Santa scammers: make sure a supposed letter from Santa addressed to a child is from a real site, and isn’t gathering personal data for identity theft.

-- Fake charities: make sure to give to genuine charities, and be careful of fakes with similar sounding names.

-- Bogus websites: red flags include http instead of the more secure https, no contact information and asking for payment by wire or money card.

-- Travel scams: bargains can be tempting, but be careful when booking through online ads, don’t ever wire money to an unfamiliar person and always ask for references.

-- Romance scams: beware an online sweetheart who gets cozy too fast or asks for money.

-- Puppy scams: beware buying pets online. It may be a puppy mill pooch with health problems or no pup at all.

Report scams to the BBB by calling 509-455-4200 or e-mailing For more information, go to

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