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Be on the lookout for these top 12 scams of Christmas

Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 17, 2019

(WXYZ) — Christmas is a time for family, friends and gift giving, but sadly, there are scammers looking to ruin your holiday fun by trying to make you their next target.

The Better Business Bureau is exposing how they aim to do it in a recent warning to consumers called the 12 scams of Christmas. 7 Action News is breaking them down for you:

Travel scams

Earlier this year, we introduced you to Carol Bodary, who had been trying to book her dream trip to Europe. She found a stellar deal for a Delta flight online.

But after paying up in gift cards, she learned it was all a travel scam – one that is common during the holidays.

Fake shipping notifications

It's a busy time of year for online shopping – sometimes, you'll forget what you've even ordered.

Whenever you get a shipping notification, you open it up and click to see where the item is. But don't fall for it! Once you click the link, it downloads malware.

Holiday pop up shops

The BBB says it gets complaints of holiday pop-up shops selling counterfeit goods. It's hard to crack down on these since they're here today, gone tomorrow.

Hottest toy pop-ups on social media

If the price is much cheaper than it is elsewhere, that's a huge red flag. But even if you're looking to make money and not spend money, you can still get scammed.

Nona Sweeten almost fell victim to a temporary holiday job scam. She was given nearly $4,000 to turn her car into an advertisement.

They ask you to cash the check and send them money back, just before the check bounces.

Phony charities

If it's a charity that didn't seem to be there a few days ago, then it's most likely not a real one.

You can check out and to verify whether the charity you're eyeing is real.

Grandparent scam

Marion Donovon learned about the grandparent scam the hard way.

The senior got a distressed phone call from a person she thought was her grandson saying he needed help after a run-in with the law.

"They told me they needed $4,000 by 4 p.m. before facing a judge," she said.

It wasn't until after she forked it over that she realized she had fallen victim to the scam.

Social media gift exchange

In this scam, you're told that if you buy one gift, you'll get up to 36 gifts in return.

This is essentially a pyramid scheme, which is illegal, and you won't get any gifts in the end.

Santa apps

The legitimate Santa apps allow your child to get personalized phone calls and video messages from Santa. But now, there are fake ones out there.

After you sign up, the scammer can then not only access your information but also your child's information.

Gift cards

They make for great presents, but be careful.

A hacker can easily swipe the number off the back and drain your funds, so make sure the verification on the back has not been exposed.

Puppy scam

Milford native Melanie LeCasper almost fell for a puppy scam after finding a beautiful white Pomeranian online. However, she sensed a red flag when the seller asked her to use the family and friends option on PayPal.

You do not get refunds if you pay through this option.

Bogus websites

This is the most prevalent scam seen during Christmas.

The BBB says that this year, they've tracked more than $100,000 lost from customers getting duped online from look-alike websites.

It's a website that looks like any other website, but the problem is that it's not an actual retailer.

Deceptive holiday jobs

Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays but beware of people who ask for your personal information online or ask you to pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to a retailer's main website to find out who's hiring.