Gadgets, Gift Cards, and More – Don’t Fall Victim to a Father’s Day Shopping Scam
Sue A. McConnell
For Immediate Release – June 11, 2012 According to the US Census Bureau, there are 70.1 million fathers across the nation – that’s a whole lot of dads, and whole lot of opportunities for scammers and unethical businesses.
“Popular holidays are targeted by con artists who use various methods to obtain personal information or offer fraudulent ‘deals’ that can only be purchased through wire transfers,” noted David Weiss, president of BBB Serving Greater Cleveland.
BBB warns of Father’s Day scams like these:
“Congratulations, You WON!” Phone Texts – Beware of any congratulatory “You Won a Father’s Day Gift Card” or similar text messages you may receive. Treat these as you would any piece of junk mail – delete without responding. Scammers disguised as popular companies such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Target often use gift cards as lures and send mass texts to random phone numbers in hopes of getting a victim. These “smishing” texts often contain a link to a website asking for more information such as a credit card number or social security number from the victim. The scammer may even text “Respond to this msg with STOP to unsubscribe from future promotions.” Do not respond as this will only confirm your phone number is valid. Instead, quietly delete the message or forward it to the GSMA Spam Reporting Service at shortcode 7726 and block the number through your cell phone provider.
eCards – Proceed with caution with any Father’s Day eCards you may receive. Don’t open any from senders you don’t recognize or that contain misspelled words, odd web addresses, or have an .exe attachment. Fake eCards frequently contain links that lead to websites attempting to obtain sensitive personal information or that install malicious software onto the victim’s computer.
Too-Good-To-Be-True Prices – If you are buying your father a gift from an online classified ad site such as Craig’s List or auction site, use caution. Never wire money, purchase expensive items sight-unseen, or disclose private financial information such as bank account or credit account numbers. You are best protected if you pay using PayPal or a credit card.
BBB also offers the following ideas and tips for Father’s Day gifts:
Gift Cards and Certificates: Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase to ensure that the expiration date and any other conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for Internet shopping and not just for in-store use.
Electronics: Whether you plan to give Dad a camera, GPS system, phone, music player, DVD player or other electronic device, be sure that you don't remove it from its box before wrapping it up as a gift. Many electronics stores require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges.
Recreational Rentals: If you’re interested in renting ATVs, campers, canoes, kayaks, motorcycles or other recreational equipment this Father’s Day, be sure that you get a written contract that includes details such as the base rental cost, daily fees, insurance and time restrictions. Also, take the time to visually inspect the rental and get written proof of any existing damage before renting the equipment.
Guides, Tours and Classes: Fishing, sightseeing, skydiving and golf lessons are a fun way to celebrate and spend time with Dad. However, it’s important to get details about these classes and adventures in writing and in advance of the trip. Be sure to clarify all of the factors listed below:
· Are reservations required and if so, by when?
· What are the total costs and features?
· What services and equipment are included?
· Are taxes or any other charges added?
· Are there any restrictions or special time requirements?