Consumer Watch: Santa Scams & Holiday Hustles

Pixabay Stock Image.

JAMESTOWN – If a stranger online promises you a gift in exchange for some personal information and a few bucks, it probably isn’t legit.

“The Secret Sister gift exchange is something that we see online on Facebook,” said Kelsey Coleman, Director of Communications for the Better Business Bureau. “All you have to do is purchase a ten-dollar gift and she’ll tell you where to mail it. Then in return you’re gonna get 36-plus gifts in return; you’re not most likely going to get these gifts.”

The Better Business Bureau says scams like “secret sister” could open people up to cybersecurity breaches and identity theft.

“You’re sharing your personal information with people that you don’t know,” said Coleman. “So things like your address, your email address, that’s all in the hands now of people that you’re not one-on-one connected to.”

But, gift-giving schemes aren’t the only online Christmas cons, buyer beware when clicking on those flashy social media ads from companies you may not have heard of.

“Online scams are the big one nowadays where we’re seeing companies who are popping up out of nowhere and, unfortunately, taking people’s money with nothing in return,” explained Coleman.

To protect yourself, take the time to research the company you’re buying from be sure to pay with a credit card, and read the fine print.

A few simple steps to keep those grinches from stealing your Christmas.


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