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‘Tis the season to be scammed: 4 popular scams to avoid

Tom Stephens, president of the Better Business Bureau Northeast Florida, joins us to discuss how you can avoid having your information stolen by holiday scams.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – You never think you will fall for a scam, yet millions of people get taken every year. Here are 4 popular scams circulating this time of year and the red flags.

Online shopping scams

  • Fake websites spoof a legitimate site, such as Fanatics, Sephora, Jordans or Urban Clothing brands. Consumers often find these ads on Facebook and Instagram, which lead them to these bogus sites.
  • Beware of sites that offer popular products at deep discounts or claim to have products that no one else offers.
  • Make sure the website gives the address and phone number of the seller. Check USPS ZIP code look-up or Google maps to verify the address exists.

Employment scams

  • Scammers contact people who have posted resumes on Glass Door and Indeed.
  • How it works? The scammer hires the “victim” and sends him/her a check to purchase needed equipment. That person is instructed to deposit the check and send money to the company’s equipment provider via MoneyGram, Venmo or similar unrecoverable sources. The check ends up bouncing and the victim has lost the money he/she sent.

Rental scams

  • Craigslist ads are the main source of fake rentals.
  • If a deposit is demanded before seeing the unit, it’s a scam. Don’t pay without a walk-through of the unit.

Pet scam red flags

  • Bogus websites advertising desirable pets at below-market prices.
  • Will not accept credit card as payment, only Venmo, Zelle, PayPal or something similar.
  • Website does not list physical address or lists a non-existent address, like a vacant lot.
  • Will only communicate by email or text.
  • Once you send a deposit, the scammer starts demanding additional money for items like a special shipping crate or a veterinary examination.

BBB’s analysis also shows that pets and pet supplies are the riskiest online purchase scams, with 70% of people losing money, and a median dollar loss of $750. The French Bulldog was the top breed used to perpetuate puppy scams.

You can track scams circulating in our area by clicking here: BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.