AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As Christmas quickly approaches, the Better Business Bureau of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle are warning residents how to stay safe over the holiday season from scams.
They are the top 12 scams that the BBB is seeing during the holiday season and they are calling them the 12 Scams of Christmas.
“They are things that pop up that are most popular with scam artists to try to fool people who are vulnerable at this time, for example, they are looking for gifts and they want something special and they are going to be responsive to social media ads and other things like that. So we want to let people know ahead of time, don’t fall for it,” said Janna Kiehl, president and CEO of the BBB of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle
Kiehl said the top scams here on the High Plains are puppy scams and gift card scams.
A puppy scam is where someone buys a puppy online and never receives it.
“The sites have pictures on them that look like pictures on many other sites, the puppies are not real. They are not in the possession of the seller because they are not selling puppies. They are just ripping you off, they are just taking your money and finding ways to do that,” said Kiehl.
Sgt. Carla Burr with the Amarillo Police Department said that scammers around this time of year are also taking advantage of people’s kindness.
“Nonprofits are asking for a little extra help around Christmas time and everyone is either doing it for good or getting their last-minute year deductions out of the way…And that is where groups are going to scam people, might ask for money and you could be donating to something that is not legitimate, so you want to be aware of that,” said Sgt. Burr.
Sgt. Burr added ultimately if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
“There are plenty of great deals out there and there are plenty of opportunities to get some really great Christmas presents, but if it’s like crazy cheap or just random out of the blue or something…just be careful about clicking on those links that you’re not familiar with. Go to the sites you are familiar with and before you make any purchasing decisions, do your homework,” said Sgt. Burr.
Sgt. Burr said if you are scammed and lost money to go ahead and make a report to the Amarillo Police Department, which can be done over the phone or online. She added you can also report scams to the BBB to their online scam tracker, which can include non-monetary loss scams as well.