The perfect puppy for a spouse, a carpriced just right for your teenager. Sales and special offers typicallyincrease during the holidays, and scammers are also poised to try to stealpeople’s hard-earned cash. Western Union and Better Business Bureau areequipping consumers with important tips to avoid falling for a scammer’s trickswhen shopping for holiday gifts.
“Scam artistsprey on consumers’ desire to make loved ones happy with special gifts duringthe holidays. They use this impulse to overcome thevictim's reasoning, telling the victim that he or she must act quickly,” saidCarrie Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Scam artists often sound so convincing that victimsdon't feel the need to check out their real qualifications. It’s always best todeal with established organizations. Rescue a puppy from a caring shelter orbuy that car from a legitimate dealer.”
What else can consumers do? Visit BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam) , a site launched by Western Union and BBB to helpconsumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam. Western Union and BBB also remindconsumers never to send a moneytransfer to an individual you have not met in person.
“Money transfer is agreat way to send money quickly and conveniently to friends and loved ones,”said Shelley Bernhardt, Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union.“However, it is not intended for use when doing business with someone you havenot met face-to-face.”
It isparticularly important to use caution when bidding on items using an onlineauction. Buyers are told the seller only accepts money transfers for payment.The “seller” tells the buyer to put the transaction in a fictitious name, falselyconvincing the victim this protects their money until the goods or services arereceived. The “seller” retrieves the funds and the merchandise never arrives. Muchin the same way you shouldn’t send cash through the mail to a complete stranger, don’tuse a money transfer service to pay for a product you haven’t seen, from anindividual you have not met. Formore information, you can also visit westernunion.com/stopfraud.