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Another 12 Scams of Christmas list

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On Dec. 2,, an Austin ABC affiliate, reported that the Better Business Bureau had released its list, “The 12 Scams of Christmas.” Unlike a similar McAfee list, these scams aren’t just online, they can be anywhere.

Malware e-cards: These cards can conceal viruses and malware as an email attachment or link. If you have any question about who sent the card, delete it. Learn more about e-card dangers here.

Stranded grandkids: With family traveling for the holidays, it’s a great time for scammers to call claiming to be a stranded relative or friend. Always verify the facts before sending money.

Counterfeit gifts: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This scam is especially prevalent on websites that offer brand-name goods at steep discounts. Always buy from reputable merchants and use a credit card so you have recourse if there’s a problem.

Pickpockets: This is a perfect time for pickpockets to work some overtime. Consumers are likely carrying extra cash and have their credit cards handy. Always keep your wallet or purse protected.

Stolen gift cards: Giving the gift of plastic can be a great solution for those who are hard to buy for. But, be sure to buy from a reputable merchant to avoid trouble. Learn more about gift card scams here.

Fake coupons: It’s easy for scammers to set up fake websites where consumers can download great-sounding coupons. If you’re asked for personal information as part of the download process, be sure you’re on the retailer’s real website and not a fake.

Santa scammers: Perhaps you thought the scammers couldn’t sink any lower. Think again. Not all of the sites set up to send letters from Santa to a child are real. Fake websites can be used to collect personal information that will be used to commit identity theft.

Fake charities: Tis the season for giving—and taking. Charities rely on holiday season giving to support their efforts throughout the year. However, fake charities can take the “ho ho ho” out of that give. Learn more about fake charities here.

Bogus websites: These have been mentioned in several of the other scams, but be aware that it’s easy for anyone to mimic another website. There is software designed specifically for that purpose. Check the domain name to make sure you’re on the right site.

Travel scams: These scams run the gamut from bargain tickets purchased online to wild taxi rides to fake vacation rentals that ask you to wire money for a deposit.

Romance scams: Looking for love this holiday season? Be cautious. Here’s one frightening story of a new Facebook friendship turned bad.

Puppy scams: Thinking you might want a pet for the family or yourself? Be careful when buying online because you may get a pooch with problems or nothing at all.

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