The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about the most common scams during the holiday season with their 12 Scams of Christmas.
Malware e-cards: Viruses and malware often travel in e-mail attachments or links. Don t click on an e-mail from someone you don t know or a name you don t recognize. When it doubt, delete!
Stranded grandkids: It s the classic grandparent scam. If your grandchild, other relative or friend calls or e-mails to say they were robbed or hurt overseas, check before wiring money.
Counterfeit gifts: Low prices on luxury goods are almost always cheap counterfeits. At best, you ll look like a Scrooge. At worst, you may be helping finance drug traffickers or terrorists.
Pickpockets: Need we say more? Keep your purse or wallet secure when shopping. Don t get overburdened or put shopping bags down, even for a moment. Thieves are watching!
Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It s easy for a scammer to sell you the card, then pull off the funds before you can even give the gift.
Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer s real website. Be especially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
Santa scammers: What could be more jolly than a letter from Santa addressed directly to your child? Make sure the site is real and not gathering your data for identity theft purposes.
Fake charities: Charities count on end-of-the-year giving, so be generous if you can. But be careful, too, because scammers set up fake charities with similar sounding names.
Bogus websites: It s easy to mimic a real website, with logos and everything. Red flags: http (not the more secure https), no contact information, asking for payment by wire or money card.
Travel scams: With busy holiday travel, bargains may be tempting. Be cautious when booking through online ads, never wire money to someone you don t know, and ask for references.
Romance scams: Everyone wants a special someone under the mistletoe, so holidays are prime time for scams. Be careful with an online sweetheart who gets cozy too fast or asks for money.
Puppy scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially at the holidays. You may get a puppy mill pooch with problems, or you may get nothing at all because it was a scam.