BBB of Northern Indiana says be aware of holiday charity, shopping scams

With the holiday shopping and gift-giving season right around the corner, scammers will be targeting people to benefit off of their personal greed.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 5:12 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 10:36 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Tis' the season...For holiday scams. People looking to give back to their community need to be on the lookout.

The Better Business Bureau estimates about one-third of all charitable donations happen during the holiday season.

The latest charity scam reported to the Northern Indiana BBB? A report of a person using their children and school to sell fake coupon books.

Maria Omar with the BBB says one of the easiest scams nowadays are charities with familiar sounding names.

"Spellings and other information, other details. It's a good idea to review the name carefully...They're going to count on the fact that the name sounds familiar enough that you are not going to look at the discrepancies and you're going to donate right away," Omar said.

If you go online to do more research, you need to be on the lookout for those scammers using similar looking websites to those that are legit.

"A lot of scammers use look-a-like dummy websites, fraudulent websites that are very similar," Omar said. "You can kind of spot them if they don't have the 's' in the "https" part of the web address. If they don't have that, that's a red flag."

You'll also want to make sure you avoid emotional, on the spot appeals for donations while in store.

"Just because a certain big box retailer is pushing you to give a donation at the time of checkout, don't feel under pressure to do that. Take your time, research the organization. Don't depend on the retailer to point you out to a legitimate charity."

To research any charitable organizations

You can use the national association of state charity officials website to determine if they’re actually registered with the attorney general’s office.

Give.org is another resource to use to find out more information about a charity.

Irs tax exempt organization search.

People shopping for holiday gifts need to use the same caution when buying gifts. Scammers tend to use the same cyber techniques, like using dummy websites to steal your credit card info.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has offered the following tips for shoppers:

  • When you go shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, conceal your purchases in the trunk of your vehicle rather than leaving them in plain sight through the windows.
  • Secure your home deliveries. Beware of “porch pirates.”
  • If you have packages arriving at your home and are not going to be there to receive them, make sure you have a place where they can be hidden from view on your porch.
  • Or see if you can have the packages delivered to a secure location where you can pick them up when you are able.
  • Consider teaming up with trusted neighbors to keep watch on one another’s properties.
  • Security systems with cameras are always an option.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Be skeptical of deals and ask questions as needed.
  • Be sure to read the fine print to make sure you are purchasing exactly what you want.
  • Closely check the emails that you receive for holiday deals to make sure that they are from the companies they claim to represent and are not from scammers or imposters.
  • Proactively go to companies’ official websites yourself rather than just clicking on a link emailed to you.
  • To protect your personal information, don’t make online purchases while using public Wi-Fi. Never make a hurried decision.
  • Scam artists want to pressure you into a making a quick decision to buy from them.
  • Slow down and check out the story for yourself first.
  • Make purchases using a credit card if you can. Always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
  • You can reverse charges or dispute a charge with your credit card company if necessary.
  • It is more difficult to dispute charges on your debit card or obtain your cash back.
  • If you are purchasing gift cards, make sure you know the expiration date, as well as the terms that apply to the card.

If you're a victim of fraud, make sure you report the scam to the BBB and the Indiana Attorney General's office.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1097128

Reported Deaths: 17438
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1437882222
Lake712531225
Allen65537867
Hamilton50147482
St. Joseph48760639
Elkhart39461538
Vanderburgh34221495
Tippecanoe30237271
Johnson27179463
Hendricks25845379
Porter25014381
Madison20656444
Clark19898275
Vigo18764308
LaPorte16857260
Delaware16425291
Howard16408311
Monroe16379217
Kosciusko13936163
Hancock12841185
Bartholomew12686188
Warrick11995189
Wayne11879265
Floyd11869225
Grant11701235
Morgan10252188
Boone9675120
Noble9069121
Henry9002165
Marshall8907146
Dearborn881799
Dubois8710139
Shelby8054128
Cass8014127
Lawrence7922182
DeKalb7591106
Huntington7448108
Jackson743893
Gibson7002118
Montgomery6910123
Harrison685296
Knox6827113
Steuben654186
Miami6477107
Whitley642260
Putnam631982
Clinton618976
Wabash6060108
Jasper601791
Jefferson5689103
Ripley549192
Adams532381
Daviess5003116
Scott480378
Wells471799
White468767
Greene461799
Clay457462
Decatur4529109
Jennings439666
Fayette435694
LaGrange419290
Posey403244
Washington384154
Randolph3818107
Fountain368362
Spencer355846
Fulton355572
Starke348772
Owen346276
Sullivan344954
Orange324470
Jay318650
Rush298332
Carroll289438
Franklin286744
Perry283253
Vermillion280458
Tipton247365
Parke246330
Pike244144
Blackford218044
Pulaski205658
Newton179052
Brown171850
Crawford167929
Benton163217
Martin150819
Switzerland145112
Warren132216
Union117816
Ohio91413
Unassigned0585

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1683472

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1766331826
Cuyahoga1641462636
Hamilton1122641528
Montgomery794721387
Summit702171199
Lucas618431017
Butler55878803
Stark525841170
Lorain41058639
Warren35404412
Mahoning35095769
Lake31445493
Clermont30711362
Delaware26682182
Trumbull26664611
Licking26200335
Medina25291351
Fairfield24173287
Greene24051369
Clark21653387
Portage20709280
Richland20587336
Wood19626246
Allen18542320
Miami17031348
Columbiana16502331
Muskingum16416206
Wayne15432304
Tuscarawas14086357
Marion13054194
Erie12423198
Ashtabula12314225
Scioto12235182
Pickaway12070151
Ross11487223
Hancock11256173
Geauga10666174
Lawrence10504171
Belmont10259231
Huron9588155
Jefferson9462225
Union939175
Sandusky9068166
Seneca8692156
Knox8618169
Washington8613156
Athens827396
Darke8270179
Ashland7840147
Auglaize7741115
Shelby7337132
Defiance7210114
Crawford7082150
Brown7052115
Fulton7016111
Logan6857108
Mercer681697
Guernsey680283
Highland6615117
Madison641389
Clinton6388106
Williams628798
Preble6171139
Putnam6089120
Jackson572396
Champaign568286
Perry558879
Coshocton5552103
Ottawa553599
Morrow506464
Fayette483170
Hardin477899
Gallia462978
Pike459076
Van Wert454691
Adams4514109
Henry424976
Hocking401493
Holmes3939137
Wyandot367973
Carroll351578
Paulding319349
Meigs302457
Monroe231860
Noble216447
Morgan210138
Harrison205152
Vinton183937
Unassigned05
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The warming trend is expected to continue through Thursday before cooler air returns to the Midwest.
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