As Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping approaches, the Better Business Bureau wants shoppers to be aware of the potential of scamming that can occur this holiday season.

According to a release from the BBB Serving Central and South Alabama, scammers will look to take advantage of product shortages and an increase in online shopping.

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The release states in 2021, online shopping Scam Tracker reports reached an all-time high. A BBB-wide study found that this year, financial losses across North America from online purchase scams could reach $380 million.

Alex Derencz, the communications manager of BBB of Central and South Alabama, said scammers thrive on need all-year round, but take matters to a higher level during the holidays because they know consumers desire to get items they need in a timely and cost-effective manner.

"The holiday season allows scammers to run a lot of plays in their playbook,” Derencz said. "They can get you with a phishing scam by sending you a fake package delivery notice. They can reel you into donating to a fake charity. They can even try and get you with an employment scam. Scammers are like kids in a candy store at the holidays."

BBB recommends these tips to protect shoppers from falling victim to scammers:

  • Research before you buy
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Make sure you use secure, trusted websites
  • Be cautious about purchasing sought-after items
  • Use payment methods that come with protection
  • Avoid making quick purchases via social media
  • Be wary of out-of-the-blue communications
  • Research a charity before making the donation

Derencz said the most simply way to avoid becoming a victim is to shop with trusted, local retailers, both in-person and online.

BBB encourages consumers to report any suspicious scam activity to the new and improved BBB Scam Tracker, which can be found by clicking here.

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