Here’s how to avoid getting ripped off by crafty scamsters promoting bogus online holiday fairs.
Don’t Get Wrapped Up in These Virtual Holiday Fair Scams
Do you love to elbow your way through crowded crafts fairs every holiday season, hoping to score a good deal on unique, handmade gifts? Or, maybe you’ve decided to buy mainly original, handmade gifts for all your friends and family members this holiday season.
If so, you’ve got plenty of company. Lots of people love holiday shopping fairs, but this year, COVID-19 mandates and concerns have halted many of the typically crowded events. There’s good news, though: Like so many other activities in 2020, you can still browse many of these holiday fairs online, receiving purchases in plenty of time for holiday gift giving.
But there’s bad news, too: Online scammers posing as holiday fair promoters are eager to swindle you out of your hard-earned money by fraudulently posing as event promoters, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Click or swipe for these signs of holiday fair scams and tips to avoid getting ripped off.
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1. The free annual event suddenly has an admission fee
If you’ve always shopped at a particular local holiday fair and the event page that pops up in an online search now shows an admission fee, beware. The event information you found online may not be legitimate.
Search online for the official event website and contact the event organizer directly to verify the admission fee or report the Grinchy scammers trying to cash in on holiday spirit.
2. The virtual event is unfamiliar
Just because you’ve never heard of a holiday shopping event before doesn’t mean it’s a phony fair. However, to be on the safe side, make sure you research the vendors and host, says the BBB. If you’re unsure whether a shop or vendor is legitimate, search online for that vendor’s store instead of clicking on any links provided on the holiday fair page.
3. The promoter wants your credit card for the “ticket”
“Con artists are creating fake event pages, social posts, and emails to confuse attendees into sharing their credit card information,” according to the BBB. The fake “host” typically asks you to provide your credit card information to purchase a “ticket” for entry to the virtual holiday shopping fair.
Always go directly to the event’s official website to check the legitimacy of any admission fee before providing your credit card number or other sensitive personal information.
4. Use your credit card for purchases
Once you’ve verified that the event and vendors are legit, put your debit card away and use a credit card instead, advises the BBB. That way, if there are any fraudulent or erroneous charges, you can dispute them with the credit card company.
5. Check out the return policy
Always ask about the return policy before purchasing items from a virtual holiday shopping fair. After all, your brother may not be as enthusiastic as you are about those “pretty” crocheted slippers you thought he’d love as much as you did when you bought them.
The last thing you need to worry about when the new year rolls in is haggling with vendors over a return policy you didn’t ask about before making your holiday purchases.
6. Save all receipts
Don’t be in such a hurry to buy all those cool gifts found at virtual holiday shopping fairs that you forget to print out or save all purchase receipts in a file on your phone, tablet or laptop. That way, if you need to return an item or have questions about a product, you’ll have the vendor’s contact information handy.
Published by Debt.com, LLC