The Better Business Bureau warns consumers about the most common scams of the year.
1. Malware e-cards: viruses and malware often travel in email attachments and links. Don’t click on an email from someone you don’t know or a name you don’t recognize. When in doubt, delete!
2. Stranded grandkids: It’s the classic “grandparents scam.” If your grandchild, another relative or friend calls or emails you to say they were robed or hurt overseas and they need money, don’t fall for it. Check with other relatives before wiring money. While the person may sound familiar to you, the caller could also be a scammer.
3. Counterfeit gifts: Low prices on luxury goods are almost always cheap counterfeits. Buy from reputable websites that you can trust so that you don’t end up helping finance drug traffickers or terrorists.
4. Pickpockets: Keep your purse or wallet secure when shopping. Don’t get overburdened or put shopping bags down, even for a moment.
5. 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 the funds off of it before you give it as a gift.
6. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Always make sure you are at a retailer’s website. Be especially careful with coupon sites that ask for personal information.
7. Fake charities: Charities need contributions, so we urge you to give carefully. Do not respond to solicitations sent to you in emails or telephone because you have no idea who is really sending the appeal.
8. Bogus websites: Scammers often set up lookalike websites to confuse consumers into thinking they are on the legitimate company’s website. If the website asks for payment by wire transfer or pre-paid debit cards, don’t fall for it because it is almost always a scam.
9. Travel scams: Be careful booking travel through online advertisements or websites. Use trusted travel agencies or book directly with the airline, hotel or cruise.
10. Puppy scam: Be very careful buying pets online. You may get a puppy mill dog with medical problems, or you may get nothing at all because it was a scam.
For more information on scams, please visit www.bbb.org.