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It’s time celebrate the big Red, White, and Blue – Independence Day! However, with the 4th of July, and any other holiday, scam artists will try to take advantage of you and ruin your holiday plans.
BBB wants you to be independent of the most common 4th of July scams and offers tips on how to protect yourself.
Phishing. Many scam artists use social media to plant malicious viruses. During the holidays, they tend to capitalize on trends like eCards and viral videos that everyone wants to share. Even though you may think you’re opening a 4th of July eCard from a friend, or following a link to see a patriotic video, you may actually get an unwanted digital download. Scammers embed this kind of content with viruses and other malware that can infect your computer, or hijack your account, without your knowledge.
BBB tip: Never open suspicious holiday eCards or download email attachments that you’re not expecting, or are from an unfamiliar website. Always keep your anti-virus software turned on and up-to-date.
Deceptive Deals. One of the best things about the holidays are the bargains you can get from big retailers. However, in the rush to “act now or miss out,” it’s easy to purchase something without reading the fine print. You could be missing return policy information. Also, be extra careful shopping online. Fake retail websites are a popular scam around any holiday. Scam artists create websites that may offer incredible savings, but these sites can prove to be traps for getting your credit card information.
BBB Tip: Always read the fine print before purchasing any large items. Try to shop at well-known, legitimate websites only. If you run across a website you’ve never heard of, offering special 4th of July deals, look for online customer reviews to determine if it’s legit and check the company’s Business Review at bbb.org.
Counterfeit Tickets. Many communities organize special events for the 4th of July such as fireworks, music, and picnics. When these events sell out, scammers start selling counterfeit tickets on sites like Craigslist or even in person at the venue.
BBB tip: If you’re buying tickets for a special event, get them directly from the venue or other trusted ticket sellers. Only pay with a credit card. If you pay in cash, there is virtually no recourse for getting your money back.
For more tips, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.