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BBB warns: Watch out for the 12 Scams of Christmas

MGN, file

The Better Business Bureau released a list of common seasonal scams, otherwise known as the 12 Scams of Christmas.

"The holidays make people warm and fuzzy inside, and they kind of forget there's someone waiting to scam you," said Connie Alarcon of the Better Business Bureau. "So, although it is Christmas, and it is the holiday season, and we are a giving community, you want to make sure to protect yourself."

1. Look-Alike Websites: Scammers email consumers offers too good to be true in exchange for personal information. Make sure to look at the sender's email address, look out for misspellings, and hover over the link without actually clicking on it to make sure it is taking you to a reputable site. And only click on websites that contain "https."

2. Social Media Gift Exchange: Buy one gift and get more in return. This is a pyramid scheme, and is illegal.

3. Grandparent Scams: Scammers email grandparents posing as a grandchild who is in distress and needing money sent to them. To avoid falling victim to this scam, make sure to call the family member to confirm their identity.

4. Temporary Holiday Jobs: Fake employers send an email about a fake job position, asking for personal information. Applying in person is the best way to avoid this scam.

5. Free Gift Cards: Scammers offer fake gift cards. Do not open any emails like this. Instead, mark it as "spam" or "junk."

6. E-Cards: Scammers will send holiday cards with the anticipation that they will be opened, unlocking personal information tucked away in the computer. Do not open any email where the sender's name is not visible, and never enter personal information to open an e-card. If an attachment contains ".exe," do not open it.

7. Fake Shipping Notifications: Notifications are sent out by scammers, intended to get ahold of personal information. Never pay any more money for a purchase already paid for, and remember delivery services do not need personal information to deliver packages.

8. Phony Charities: Scammer posing as a charity asking for money. Verify the charity at Give.org and review the charities website

9. Letter From Santa: Con artists send emails asking for money, and in return will get a letter from Santa. Remain cautious of unsolicited emails, and check bbb.org to verify the legitimacy.

10. Unusual Forms of Payments: Look out for sending money in weird ways, like wire transfers or through third parties.

11. Travel Scams: Fake travel deals offered by scammers to obtain personal information. Don't wire money to unknown people, and ask for references.

12. Puppy Scams: People are scammed into thinking they're getting a certain puppy and are asked to send a large sum of money without actually seeing the animal. Make sure to never send money without seeing the animal first.

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