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Common Holiday Scams

BBB Column

The holiday season is here! Although the pandemic will certainly change how we prepare, consumers are still planning to shop and celebrate. Unfortunately, scammers are also ready for the holidays. With your mind on finding the perfect gifts and best deals, they hope you won’t be watching for fraud. Use these tips from your Better Business Bureau to avoid common holiday scams this year:

Seasonal employment scams.

Many companies and industries hire extra employees during the holidays to help with increased business. This is a perfect opportunity for scammers to put out fake help wanted ads. Use these tips to stay safe while looking for seasonal job opportunities:

  • Know the signs. Being aware of the red flags of employment scams can help you avoid them. Employers asking for upfront payment for a job, job offers without interviews and big money for small jobs are all major signs of employment scams.
  • Don’t work before you’re hired. A legitimate company will not ask you to begin a project before hiring you. Before starting any work, ask for an offer letter or for confirmation in writing. This should include details about the job and compensation.

Hot Toy Scams

Each year, a few toys are more popular than the rest, and when they begin to sell out in stores, parents look elsewhere to find them. They might find a legitimate-looking website that claims to have them, maybe even on sale! Unfortunately, after purchasing the toy, it never arrives, and they discover the website and offers were fake. These tips can keep your wallet safe when searching for this year’s hot toys:

  • Buy from reputable retailers. Buying directly from stores, in-person and online, that you know and trust is the best way to avoid being scammed. You can go to their business profile on to find their rating and customer reviews. Also, be sure their website has valid customer service information.
  • Watch for extra-low prices. Unreasonably low prices and discounts are often red flags of a scam. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Delivery Scams

Delivery scams and package theft can take several forms. They may be phishing emails from scammers posing as the delivery company, or fake “missed delivery” tags, which attempt to get your personal information. Some consumers find that packages are stolen off their doorstep before they arrive home from work. To avoid these situations, use these tips:

  • Take precautions. If you are having a fragile or valuable item delivered, purchase shipping insurance. You can also track packages, or request that a signature be required for the package to be delivered.
  • Watch for emails about missed deliveries. Most legitimate delivery services leave a missed delivery notice on your door. An email could be a phishing scam.

Have safe and happy holidays, from everyone at BBB serving the Heart of Texas!