Consumer Alert: BBB warning about virtual holiday market scams

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Coronavirus pandemic is causing many in-person holiday shopping events to go virtual this year.

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Scammers are already preying on victims by creating copycat events to steal their identity.

The Better Business Bureau says look out for fake event pages, social media posts and emails. Also, beware of any tickets or fees required to access the event.

“If you’re not used to paying a fee to enter it, you want to do some research, because that fee is what scammers are using to collect money,” said Roseann Freitas, The Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager

Some virtual holiday markets have a website or social media page where vendors post their products. Meanwhile, some consumers reported to the BBB that when they clicked on the site, malware was downloaded on their devices.

“They’re again trying to either get your money and download malware or get some personal information so that they can work on stealing your identity.”

The BBB suggests always doing research before purchasing anything online.

“You can also find that information on where that domain is registered, because especially if it’s registered out of the U.S. that’s a big red flag.”

Shoppers can Google the site or vendor and type “scam” behind it to search for any suspicious activity.

“Research the vendors and the host of any of the events. Always use that credit card when you purchase. Don’t use your debit card, because at least with a credit card you can cancel the transaction.”

Victims can report a scam to the BBB Scam Tracker.

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