The holiday shopping season is upon us. With the pandemic, many local in-person events, such as popup holiday markets or craft fairs, have moved online. Scammers are creating phony copycat events that charge for admission and steal your credit card information.
How the Scam Works:
You hear that your citys annual holiday market or another shopping event will be held virtually this year. You search for it online and find a social media post or event page. Besides moving online, one other big thing is different this year. The event, which has been free in the past, is now requiring a paid ticket. You enter your credit card number and personal information, such as full name and address.
Unfortunately, the ticket is a scam! The event information you found was posted by scammers and not affiliated with the real holiday market. Con artists are creating fake event pages, social posts, and emails to confuse attendees into sharing their credit card information.
In another twist on this scam, some virtual holiday markets have a website or social media page where vendors can post photos of their products and links to their websites. Be careful here too! Some consumers reported to BBB that they the clicked the links provided, thinking they lead to an online shop. Instead, the sites downloaded malware.
Tips to avoid holiday event scams:
Is there an admission fee?&8239;Visit the events website to see if you need to purchase an admission ticket for the virtual event. If not, watch for scammers trying to claim otherwise. If this happens, message the event coordinator to help prevent other virtual attendees from being scammed.
Research vendors and the host.&8239;If the event is unfamiliar to you, research the host and&8239;list of vendors ahead of time. While virtually browsing from booth to booth, make sure you are only clicking on the links provided. If you are unsure if a shop is legitimate do an online search for that vendors store rather than follow the link provided.
Use a credit card.&8239;When making any purchases, use your credit card. This way if anything gets charged that wasnt supposed to be, you can file a claim with your credit card company.
Keep your receipts.&8239;Make note of all of your purchases and save your receipts. If you have a question about a product or need to make a return, you will have the vendors information readily available.
Know the return policy.&8239;Before making a purchase, ask the vendor what their return policy is so you will not run into issues after the holidays.
For more information
Read more about&8239;holiday pop-up shops&8239;and&8239;event scams&8239;on BBB.org. Find out more about&8239;online event scams on Event Industry News.&8239; Click here for BBB’s tips for&8239;buying tickets&8239;to an event.&8239;&8239;
If youve been targeted by this scam, help others by filing a scam report at&8239;BBB.org/ScamTracker.
ABOUT BBB SERVING CENTRAL INDIANA: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB serving Central Indiana, which was founded in 1916 and serves 46 counties.