BBB warns Mississippi shoppers to avoid holiday scams

Home for the Holidays

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – People across Mississippi are shopping for the holidays, but leaders with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Mississippi said you should watch out for scams.

“If they’re a criminal, they’re not going to abide by the rules of law. They’re already breaking the law. They’re already ripping you off. So, why are they going to rip you off for $25, when they can rip you off for $2,500?” said John O’Hara, president and CEO of BBB Serving Mississippi.

He said people are more vulnerable around the holidays because they feel pressure to buy gifts. He said scammers can present themselves in various ways, including texts, phone calls, emails and puppy scams.

“There are a lot of fake websites out there; people saying they’re selling dogs, they’re a dog breeder. We’ve had it in Mississippi; people using locations here, people posting pictures of dogs, high prices, people putting down a deposit. It’s usually a wire transfer, could be a gift card, never a credit card because you can always contest. Then someone says they’re with the pet transportation company cause they’re flying it here,” O’Hara explained.

He said scammers could be lurking on your social media pages. When you search something online, ads for the items or something similar will popup on Facebook or Instagram. If you click the wrong ad, you could be in trouble.

“They hack into someone’s Facebook page, and they say, ‘Hey, I just bought this product, and it’s great.’ We see this a lot with weight loss products. They say, ‘Hey, I’m feeling great, and I lost 10 pounds on this,’ and boom. That ad goes out everywhere, and then all your friends buy it, and they say, ‘Hey, I didn’t get anything.'”

O’Hara said a good way to know if a site is legit is to make sure it has a real address attached to the site. You can also trace its IP address to know where the site originated.

You can also call the BBB Serving Mississippi to verify any calls, texts or emails you receive.

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