The frenzied holiday shopping season allows some scammers to fly under your radar, especially if you're distracted, stressed or pressed for time.
The Consumer Fraud Task Force, a group that includes business groups like the Better Business Bureau as well as government and legal aid organizations, is reminding consumers of several common scams that are rampant during the holidays. The Task Force release is on the BBB website.
Scammers recently took $1,800 from a St. Louis woman who was shopping on Craigslist for a car. She replied to an aid for a Nissan Altima and wired money to the scammer, but never got her car.
Here are some scams to be wary of:
- Websites selling knockoff sports jerseys, clothing or accessories. Often these are based outside the United States, making it difficult if not impossible to obtain refunds or exchanges.
- Sites selling electronic items at deeply discounted prices. Often the items are of poor quality - or they don't exist at all.
- Craiglist ads offering new or used items at low prices and requiring customers to send money by wire - either Western Union, MoneyGram or Green Dot MoneyPak are often used.
- Online sales of record albums and sports collectibles.
For more information, or to report a scam, you can contact members of the task force. They include:
Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois – (314) 645-3300; www.bbb.org.
Federal Trade Commission – (877) FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); www.ftc.gov.
Illinois Attorney General – (800) 243-0618; www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
Missouri Attorney General – (800) 392-8222; www.ago.mo.gov.
U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri – (314) 539-2200; www.usdoj.gov/usao/moe.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service – (877) 876-2455; postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
U.S. Secret Service – (314) 539-2238; www.secretservice.gov.