Better Business Bureau: BBB Tip: The naughty list – BBB’s 12 scams of Christmas

milwaukeeWiss. – With 2022 fast approaching, the Better Business Bureau has compiled a salacious list of the top 12 Christmas scams. As you shop and donate this holiday season, watch out for schemes to steal your cash or steal your personal information.

Most of the scams on this list can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Always be on the lookout for social media ads promoting discounted products, holiday events, job opportunities, donation requests, etc., as well as direct messages from strangers. If you are asked to make a payment or donation by wire transfer, through a third party, or with a prepaid debit card or gift card, treat it as a red flag.

Be aware of the following scams that may upset you during the holiday season.

1. Misleading social media ads: As you scroll through your social media feeds, you will frequently see ads for your products. Always research before buying. BBB Scam Tracker is paying for items you never received, being charged a monthly fee for a free trial you didn’t sign up for, or receiving counterfeit or significantly different items than advertised. I receive daily reports that The 2022 BBB Online Fraud Report found that the most common fraud reported to the Scam Tracker was online purchase fraud. Check out our business profile on and read reviews before ordering.

Learn more about misleading advertising, free trial offers and counterfeit products.

2. social media gift exchange: Each holiday season brings back the scheme, and this year is no exception. A new version of this scam revolves around exchanging bottles of wine. Another user suggests buying a $10 gift online. Another twist asks participants to pick a name and send an email to a list to “prepay” by sending money to strangers. There’s even a twist on “Secret Santa Dog” where he buys a $10 gift for “Secret Dog”.

In all of these versions, participants unknowingly share personal information along with that of family and friends, and are even tricked into purchasing gifts and money to ship to unknown individuals. It’s an illegal pyramid scheme.

Learn more about social media gift exchanges here.

3. holiday app: Apple’s App Store and Google Play offer kids the chance to video chat live with Santa, light the menorah, watch Santa feed the reindeer, and take a sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. There are many holiday-themed apps out there that let you track and share your holiday wishlist. Please review our privacy policy to see what information is collected. Free apps may contain more ads than apps that require a small fee, so be careful. Even free apps can contain malware.

Learn more about holiday apps.

Four. Alerts for Compromised Accounts: BBB has received reports of scams in its Scam Tracker claiming Amazon, Paypal, Netflix, or bank accounts were compromised. The victim receives an email, phone call, or text her message explaining that there was suspicious activity on one of her accounts and takes immediate action to prevent the account from being compromised. encourage you to Be extra careful with unsolicited phone calls, emails, and texts.

Read more about compromised account fraud.

Five. free gift card: Nothing inspires me more than the word ‘FREE’. Scammers have been known to take advantage of this weakness by sending mass phishing emails requesting personal information to receive a free gift his card. In some of these emails, scammers pretend to be legitimate businesses and promise to offer gift cards to reward loyal customers. We may also use pop-up ads or send you a text girlfriend message with a link letting you know you have been randomly selected to win a prize.

If you receive an unsolicited email containing a gift card offer, do not open it. Please mark it as spam or junk instead. However, if you open the email, do not click any links.

Read more about gift card fraud.

6. Temporarily closed work: Retailers typically hire seasonal workers to meet the demands of holiday shoppers. Shippers and delivery services are top holiday employers this year as online orders increase and most of these packages need to be delivered before Christmas. These jobs are a great way to earn extra money and can sometimes turn into long-term employment opportunities. You should be aware of employment fraud. Watch out for opportunities that seem too good to be true.

Learn more about holiday job scams here.

7. Similar Websites: During the holiday season, you’ll receive endless emails offering deals, sales, and bargains. Be wary of emails containing links. Some can even trick people into downloading malware, making dead-end purchases, or sharing personal information by directing them to look-alike websites created by scammers. If you have any questions about the email, please do not click on the link. Instead, hover over them to see where to reroute.

Learn more about similar websites here.

8. fake charity: The last few weeks of the year are a busy time for charitable giving. Donors are advised to beware of fraudulent charities and scammers posing as individuals in need. Avoid making impromptu donation decisions to unfamiliar organizations. Responsible organizations welcome gifts tomorrow as much as they do today. Check the charity on BBB’s or her Canadian Revenue Agency website. If possible, donate to charity through the website and use a credit card. Read more about fake charities.

Read more about fake charities.

9. fake shipping notices: As more consumers shop online, the number of shipping details notifications from retailers and carriers is also increasing. Scammers are taking advantage of this new surge by sending phishing emails containing links that allow unwanted access to personal information or download malware onto devices. They also try to trick people into paying new shipping charges.

Read more about delivery and package fraud.

Ten. POP-UP HOLIDAY VIRTUAL EVENT: Many local in-person events, such as pop-up holiday markets and craft fairs, have moved online. Scammers have created fake event pages, social media posts, and emails to charge admission to previously free events. The purpose is to steal credit card information. Please check with the organizer if there is an admission fee. Please use a credit card when paying. If the event is free, beware of scammers who try to claim otherwise.

Find out more about our pop-up holiday shop.

11. T.op holiday wishlist items: Low-priced luxury goods, jewelry, designer clothing, and electronics are almost always cheap counterfeits and imitations. The same applies to popular toys. Items such as Squishmallows, Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball, Snap Circuits, Breyer Horses Unicorn Magic Wood Stable, and National Geographic Break Open Geodes are in high demand this year. If you are considering purchasing these popular toys from Facebook Marketplace or other platform resellers, please be very careful.

Read more about the Holiday Hot Toys Scam.

12. puppy scam: Many families may be considering adding a furry friend to their family this year. But beware of scams. Many would-be pet owners turn to the internet to find their future cat or dog, but experts say a staggering 80% of sponsored pet ads can be fake. Always see your pet in person before purchasing.

Read more about pet fraud.

For more information:

For general information on how to avoid scams, visit For more advice, read BBB’s tips for online shopping. If you find an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker.

Read more BBB holiday tips at

For more information or inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers can also find more information on how to protect themselves from fraud by following Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About BBB: For over 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has helped people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2021, people visited his BBB more than 200 million times because of his BBB business profile on 6.3 million businesses and charity reports on 25,000 charities. All of these are available for free at He has local independent BBBs in the US, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin, founded in 1939 and serving Wisconsin.

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