LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, the Better Business Bureau is singing a new carol for the holidays this year: The 12 Scams of Christmas.
The BBB is reminding shoppers to gift with caution this year.
"It's just that time of year where everyone is feeling a little more happy and a little more giving and they're in seek of certain things for loved ones and they're more willing to give in to certain scams, unfortunately," said Reanna Smith-Hamblin, president and CEO of the Louisville BBB.
Topping the BBB's "12 Scams of Christmas" list are misleading ads and gift exchanges on social media. They say social media scams have increased with more people shopping online amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Shoppers should also be wary of some holiday apps that allow children to video chat with Santa for free. The BBB said to read the privacy policies of such apps to see what information will be collected.
This season, people could also fall victim to alerts about compromised accounts, free gift cards, temporary holiday jobs, look-alike websites, fake charities, fake shipping notifications, pop-up virtual events, holiday wish list items and puppy scams.
The BBB said scammers send bulk phishing emails that request personal information in exchange for free gift cards, oftentimes impersonating legitimate companies. Meanwhile, some employment scams aim to steal money and personal information from job applicants.
Shoppers should also be wary of emails with links, as some may lead to look-alike websites created by scammers. The BBB said if you're uncertain about an email, don't click any of the links included.
When it comes to donating to charities, the BBB said to avoid impromptu donations to unfamiliar organizations. You can verify a charity on the BBB's website, here.
Fake shipping notifications come in the form of phishing emails from scammers, with links that may "allow unwanted access" to a person's private information or download malware onto computers or other devices.
Pop-up virtual holiday events come in the form of fake event pages, social media posts and emails that may charge admission for what was a free event in the past.
The BBB said pet scams are on the rise this year, and families should request to see a pet in person before adopting.
Experts said one of the best ways to keep your personal information safe is to remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
"Honestly, shop local when you can," Smith-Hamblin said. "You know what you're getting when you shop local. You're able to walk into the store, pick up the item, feel the item, so shopping local would be the top thing to do."
The BBB also said when shopping online, it's a good idea to use a credit card instead of a debit card. That way if you do have an issue, it's easier to dispute the charge. Another tip is to do your research before paying for anything or giving out your information.
For more information about these scams and what to look out for, click here.
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