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  • Writer's pictureEast Bay Business Exchange

How to Have a Happy Holiday Shopping Experience

This month, Maggie Wulff a Legal Shield Representative, presented the top holiday scams shoppers may come across this season; as well as tips for a safe holiday shopping experience.

The "Sneakiest" Holiday Scams in 2020

1. Virtual "holiday markets"

  • Scammers are already cashing in on the quarantine by selling tickets for virtual events.

  • Scammers often hook people with small amounts, then trick them into spending more money on add-ons (raffle tickets or donations).

  • These scammers steal people's credit card info and install malware on their phones.

2. "Secret sister" gift exchanges. Here's how it works...

  • You buy one present of your choice for a "secret sister".

  • You'll receive 36 packages in the mail.

  • It's an illegal pyramid scheme.

3. Gift card scams

  • "Baby Yoda" offered online at a major discount.

  • Seller is on Facebook Marketplace or Craiglist.

  • They want you to pay with an Amazon gift card.

  • Always use your credit card for online purchases.

4. Package delivery scams

  • Email from "UPS" asking to confirm your personal info before your packages come. (Go ahead and delete it.)

  • Scammers attempting to gain sensitive information from consumers by phone, text, or email.

  • UPS, Amazon Prime, and FedEx will never ask for your personal information like your login or banking info.

5. Bogus Charities

  • Scammers can pull on your heartstrings and appeal to your love for and sympathy for children in need or homeless pets.

  • Scammers make fake websites that take "donations" through PayPal for non-existent charities.

  • Before donating, do your research. Legitimate charities are usually listed on nonprofit databases like Charity Navigator and Guide Star.

Tips for a Safe Holiday Shopping Experience:

  1. Compare Products. Do research online, check product comparison sites, and read online reviews.

  2. Check out the seller. Confirm that the seller is legit. Look for reviews about their reputation and customer service. You want to be able to contact the seller if you have a dispute (especially for overseas orders).

  3. Look for coupon codes. Search the store's name with terms like "coupons," "discounts," or "free shipping."

  4. Pay by credit card. Paying by credit card gives you added protection. Never mail cash or wire money to online sellers.

  5. Use a secure checkout. Before you enter your credit card information online, check that the website address starts with "https." The "s" stands for secure. If you don't see the "s," don't enter your information.

  6. Keep records. Keep records of online transactions until you get the goods, confirm you got what you ordered, and that you're satisfied you won't have to return the item.


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