BBB Warns of 12 Big Scams To Avoid

BBB Warns of 12 Big Scams To Avoid

Submitted by: Maryanne P. Daily, M.A. NCDRC Certified Mediator, Senior Vice President

Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina

Look-Alike Websites

Many consumers are seeing an increase in the number of emails announcing deals, gifts, and sales. While mailers can look legitimate, the links may lead to look-alike websites meant to trick you into entering private information.

Social Media Gift Exchange

Purchasing one gift and receiving several in return may sound like a harmless way to give and receive presents, but this scam is a pyramid scheme, which is illegal.

Grandparent Scams

Scammers target seniors posing as a grandchild or other family member and claim they have been in an accident, arrested, hospitalized or another urgent issue. The circumstance often requires money be sent immediately to resolve.

Temporary Jobs

Many businesses require a little extra help at various times of the year and often seek temporary employees, but beware of fraudsters who attempt to glean personal information from applicants.

Free Gift Cards

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Scammers hope to take advantage of that fondness through phishing emails and pop-up ads offering gift cards.


Greeting cards are sent out throughout the year and while some friends and family may be going high-tech by using e-cards, so are scammers. Spot a friendly e-card from a scam by looking for the sender’s name and be wary if you are asked to enter personal information to open the card.

Fake Shipping Notifications

Deliveries notifications can often be expected throughout the year as many consumers go online to make purchases, but some of these announcements may be phishing scams.

Phony Charities

Charities often get seasonal boosts as consumers are in the giving spirit, but scammers seeking to take advantage can pose as charities or needy individuals soliciting donations.

Online Dating

Online dating and social media have made it easier than ever to meet new people and find dates. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, by pretending to be prospective companions and playing on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal information.

Unusual Forms of Payment

When making purchases be wary of anyone asking for a strange form of payment, as they often can’t be traced or undone. These may include prepaid debit or gift cards, wire transfers or third parties.

Travel Scams

Traveling can get expensive, and bargains may be tempting, but some offers may be scams that end up costing you more instead of helping you save.

Puppy Scams

Puppy scams hurt families seeking to add a family member to their household. Puppy scams are often difficult to avoid as cute pictures, and good deals pull at the heartstrings and wallet.

For more information about these scams, please visit or contact Kim Henderson at 704.927.8623 or