The 12 scams of Christmas


By Oregon Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns about common holiday scams and frauds:

  1. Malware E-cards: Viruses and malware often travel in fraudulent holiday email cards. Don’t click on links or download attachments in unsolicited emails.
  2. Stranded Grandkids: It’s the classic grandparent scam—verify identities before wiring money out of the country.
  3. Counterfeit Gifts: Low prices on luxury goods almost always mean cheap counterfeits; purchase products from legitimate retailers and avoid too-good-to-be-true prices.
  4. Pickpockets: Keep purses and wallets secure when shopping and avoid setting down bags while waiting in lines.
  5. Stolen Gift Cards: Only purchase gift cards from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals to avoid common gift card frauds.
  6. Fake Coupons: Be cautious when downloading digital coupons and be wary of sites that require personal information.
  7. Santa Scammers: What could be more jolly than a letter from Santa addressed directly to your child? Make sure sites are real and not gathering data for identity theft purposes.
  8. Fake Charities: Charities count on end-of-the-year giving, but be careful of scammers that set up fake charities with similar sounding names.
  9. Bogus Websites: It’s easy to mimic real websites. Navigate to legitimate retailers through verified channels.
  10. Travel Scams: With busy holiday travel, bargains may be tempting. Be cautious when booking through online ads and never wire money to persons unknown.
  11. Romance Scams: Everyone wants a special someone under the mistletoe, so holidays are a prime time for scams. Be careful with online sweethearts who get cozy too fast or ask for money.
  12. Puppy Scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially at the holidays.


It’s not just Santa that’s watching this time of year, scammers and thieves are too. Check with BBB for tips and advice on all kinds of holiday shopping.

Don’t be a Scrooge; visit BBB’s News Center year-round for updates on local scams.

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