Better Business Bureau (BBB)
It’s closing in on December and despite the cold weather, the biggest shopping season of the year is starting to warm up. Canadians typically spend in the range of 30 billion dollars over the holiday season. That includes everything from candy canes to ski trips in Whistler. Scammers know that we are more likely to spend and give more over the next few months than any other time of the year.
“Our warnings definitely have a seasonal flavour,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “However it’s no mystery that we tend to be more giving and free with our cash this time of year. This can lead to being more impulsive and less cautious with how we spend our money and who we give it to. And remember, if the price is too good to be true, it could be a scam.”
• Do your research and give to those organizations you’ve given to in the past; be wary of new crowdfunding links.
• Check with the Canada Revenue Agency for a charity’s legitimacy and financials
Christmas E-Card Scams
• If you don’t know who it’s from, don’t open it; make sure there is a real family name instead of generic “From your Son!” and contact the person who sent it to see if they actually did.
• Update your antivirus protection and don’t click on any links if you are uncertain
Holiday Travel Scams
• Book travel through reputable websites and travel companies
• Check a company’s BBB Rating at bbb.org/mbc
• If booking through portals like Air BnB, research the property you wish to rent and follow all of their terms and conditions
o Look for online reviews of the property and look for property where you can meet the owners on arrival
• Buy cancellation insurance and read the fine print for any booking you make, and be wary of specials that ask you to act now!
Gift Card Scams
• Make sure in-store cards have not been tampered and make sure you are on a secure and reputable website if buying them online, and buy gift cards directly from the source.
Fake Package Tracking Information
• Beware of phishing emails that claim to be from well-known shipping companies like UPS or FedEx
• Don’t click on any suspicious links, and confirm with friends or relatives if anyone has sent anything that requires picking up
• These companies would usually leave a card at your home indicating where you can pick up your parcel, and would not send you an email