Better Business Bureau warns of fake virtual holiday shopping fairs – PRNewswire

Better Business Bureau warns of fake virtual holiday shopping fairs – PRNewswire

An annual holiday market or another shopping event is announced that it will be held virtually this year. After searching for details online and finding a social media post or event page, you happen to notice a large detail is also different this year. The event, traditionally free in the past, is now requiring a paid ticket. Thinking that perhaps this is a change to offset any lost income or to benefit local retailers, a decision is made to enter credit card number and personal information, such as full name and address in the registration fields required on the web page.

Unfortunately, the “ticket” is a scam! The event information found was posted by scammers not affiliated with the real holiday market. Instead, con artists created fake event pages, social posts, and emails to confuse past and present attendees into sharing their credit card as well as personal information.

In 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. Be careful here too! Some consumers tell BBB that they the clicked the links provided, thinking they lead to an online shop. Instead, they accidentally downloaded malware.

Tips to avoid holiday event scams:

  • Is there an admission fee? Visit the event’s website directly to see if an admission ticket is required for a virtual event. If not, watch for scammers trying to claim otherwise. If this happens, message the event coordinator to help prevent other virtual attendees from being taken advantage of.
  • Research vendors and the host. If the event is unfamiliar to you, research the host and list of vendors ahead of time. While virtually browsing from booth to booth, make sure you are only clicking on the links provided. If you are unsure if a shop is legitimate, search for them online in a separate browser for the vendor’s store rather than follow the link provided.
  • Use a credit card. When making any purchases, use a credit card. This way if anything gets charged that wasn’t supposed to be, a claim can be filed with the credit card company.
  • Keep your receipts. Make note of all purchases and save receipts. If there is a question about a product or it needs to be returned, the vendor’s information is readily available.
  • Understand the return policy. Before making a purchase, ask the vendor what the return policy is if it is not clearly posted in the booth.

Learn more about how to stay safe online this holiday season by visiting

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at


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Published at Tue, 01 Dec 2020 22:52:00 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos


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