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Experts say beware of scams this holiday season

Scams of 2021
Posted at 6:28 AM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 08:28:31-05

It's that time of year — people giving gifts and wanting extra income. Unfortunately, it's also the time of year when scams for shopping and employment are running rampant, according to experts at the Better Business Bureau.

Denisse Alvarez, the director of operations at the BBB of Southern Arizona, said it's important for people do their homework and research the company before entering your information. She said employment, online shopping and pet scams are some of the most common scams reported this year.

"We've seen about a 35% increase in those employment scams in just the past few weeks," she said. "Usually, they'll ask for your contact information so that way they can open up bank accounts."

Normally, employers ask for personal information but Alvarez said don't give out the information until you've learned more about the company and even see the employer face to face.

"A lot of these employers, or rather people pretending to be employers, as for your banking info to set up direct deposit,” Alvarez said.

As for online shopping, Alvarez said there are many advertisements on social media. People buy the items with their credit cards, but it never ships or the item is a counterfeit.

"If it's too good to be true, it usually is," she said. "If this item is sold out everywhere else and the price is really good, it's always a red flag."

Alvarez said it's important to cancel your credit card and contact the Federal Trade Commission for more information if you've been a victim of a scam. She said you can also go to the BBB Scam Tracker to learn more about the scams in your area.

"They definitely want to contact their credit card company to make a dispute for whatever they paid for the item," she said.

For Tucson resident Patricia Aldridge, she did what most people do when looking for some extra income — she applied for a job on Indeed.com. She was contacted by text message and was even told to download a special app. The interview continued both through text and the app.

"When I got little weirded out was when they sent me a check for 1900 via email and wanted me to take a photo of it with my phone and deposit it to my bank account,” she said.

Aldridge said at that point, she deleted the app off her phone and even deleted her bank apps. She contacted the BBB to learn more and report the scam.

"I was like 'who could email you a check'?"she said. "I've never heard of that so I uploaded a copy of it to the Better Business Bureau and was done with it from there. I wasn't going to have anymore contact with these people."

She said if anyone is contact with scammers, it's best to be safe, change your passwords and cancel your credit card.

"If you think it's too good to be true, you're probably right," Aldridge said. "Just don't take that chance, especially during the holidays."

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