Officials warn about the Big 3 Christmas shopping scams

Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 30, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Millions of shoppers plan to take advantage of Cyber Monday and other online shopping deals.

“Ninety-six percent of retailers expect their online to be hit very hard. That’s a number that’s never been heard before” Barry Moore, with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central Virginia, explained.

Moore knows for every online holiday deal customers swipe, there are criminals lurking with holiday steals of their own.

He said the biggest step you can take to avoid getting ripped off is to research the product and the company from which you’re buying.

“Go directly to the company’s website rather than a third-party website that can put up beautiful, glossy pictures and totally be a scam. People doing TikTok dances on them and whatever it takes. The bottom line is when you check things out, you don’t see that https on that website.
It’s not a secure website” Moore explained.

Shopping local is always advised. Moore also said he encouraged consumers to look for companies with the BBB seal.

“If that seal is on the website or on the front door of a business, they have passed through at least 38 steps of accreditation and they have to maintain those steps,” Moore said.

He also wanted Virginians to keep in mind the top three scams the BBB has identified this holiday season:

  • Online purchases
  • Employment scams
  • Puppy scams

“That is still number one for the third year in a row. So, people like to order puppies for kids for Christmas or Hanukkah, but be very careful. If you can’t scratch behind the ear of that dog and let it lick your hand, I’d stay away from it,” Moore warned.

He said customers who get scammed, should report the crime to police, even the Attorney General’s office as well as the BBB.

They’ll add the incident to their Scam Tracker system.

That’s an online tool available for customers to review before shopping or making charitable donations online, so they can avoid becoming a victim.

Moore says for other helpful tips to protect your money and your identity, go to