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Watch out for holiday fair scams as the fairs move online

Financing-Laptop Surrounded by MoneyThanksgiving is next week with Hanukkah and Christmas not far behind.

With the pandemic, many local holiday markets and craft fairs have moved online.

Scammers are creating phony copycat events that charge for admission and steal your credit card information.

The scam

You learn that your city’s holiday market or your church’s holiday fair will be offered virtually this year. You look online to find a social media post or event page.

The event, which has been free in the past, requires a paid ticket. You’re asked to enter your name, address, and credit card number.

The “ticket” is a scam. Scammers created the website you found, which isn’t affiliated with the real holiday market or fair. Social media posts and emails also are being used to garner credit card information.

Another twist on this scam: Some virtual holiday markets have a website or social media page where vendors can post photos of their products and links to their websites. However, some consumers have reported to Better Business Bureau that they the clicked the links provided and the sites downloaded malware.

What to do

The Better Business Bureau recommends these tips to avoid problems:

  • Find out if there’s an admission fee. Visit the event’s website and get the correct information about whether you need a ticket for the virtual event. If not and you see a scammers hawking tickets, let the the event coordinator know to prevent other virtual attendees from being scammed.
  • Research vendors and the host. Research the host and list of vendors. While virtually browsing from booth to booth, make sure you only click on the links provided. If you’re unsure a shop is legitimate, search online for that vendor’s store rather than use the link provided.
  • Use a credit card. If anything gets charged that wasn’t supposed to be, you can file a claim with your credit card company.
  • Keep your receipts. If you have a question about a product or need to make a return, you’ll have the vendor’s information handy.
  • Know the return policy. Before making a purchase, ask the vendor what their return policy is so you won’t have problems after the holidays.

For more information

Find out more about online event scams on Event Industry News

If you’ve been targeted by this scam, file a scam report at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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