Over 200 scams are currently circulating in B.C. according to the Better Business Bureau.
The Vancouver Police Department Crime Incident document states that the year to date findings on fraud (from Jan 2016-Oct 2016) are two thousand four hundred and sixty six.
Spokesperson Evan Kelly says it’s important to do your due diligence around the holiday season.
If something seems fishy, it probably is.
“A lot of the scams we’re seeing this year are related to shipping…It’s about being the instigator and making sure you’re not falling for any scams,” Kelly says.
According to the BBB, here are the top 10 scams:
- Be cautious shopping online: Use a credit (not debit) card online and only shop on secure websites. Look for “https” in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and for a lock symbol.
- Look-alike websites: When shopping online, make sure to use only legitimate websites. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words.
- Fake shipping notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords.
- E-cards: Two red flags to watch out for are: the sender’s name is not apparent; you are required to share additional information to get the card.
- Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer charming and personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are legitimate.
- Emergency scam: Be cautious if you get a call from a family member or friend claiming to be in an accident, arrested, or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Never send money unless you confirm with another family member that it’s true.
- Phony charities: Everyone is in a generous mood at the holidays, so scammers take advantage of that with fake charity solicitations in email, on social media sites, and even by text. Check out charities at give.org before donating.
- Temporary holiday jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays, but beware of solicitations that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is hiring.
- Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc.
- Social media gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal; buy one gift and get 36 in return. But it’s just a variation on a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal.
You can report scams to the BBB here.
With Files from Isabella Zavarise