Better Business Bureau releases 2022 Christmas scam rankings

San Francisco (KGO) — The Better Business Bureau released its list of the top Christmas scams for 2022.

When shopping or donating this holiday season, beware of these schemes trying to steal your cash or personal information.

Misleading Social Media Ads

According to the 2022 BBB Online Fraud Report, online purchase scams are the most common type of fraud in 2022. People have reported paying for items they never received, paying monthly for free trials they never signed up for, or receiving items that were counterfeit or vastly different from advertised.

Tomorrow: Tips for not losing money shopping on TikTok this holiday season

How to avoid:

Check out the business profile on and read reviews before ordering.

social media gift exchange

This plan comes up every holiday season. A new version of this scam involves exchanging wine bottles. Another suggestion for buying a $10 gift online. Another twist requires you to submit your email to a list where participants can pick a name and wire money to strangers to “forward.” In all of these versions, participants share their personal information with family or friends and are further tricked into purchasing and delivering gifts or money to unknown individuals. The BBB said it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

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How to avoid:

Don’t engage – ignore it and report social media ads. You can learn more about social media gift exchanges here.

VIDEO: FBI warns these are the 2 most common scams in the Bay Area, what to watch out for this holiday season

free gift card

Scammers have been known to take advantage of the beloved word “free” by sending out numerous phishing emails asking for personal information in exchange for free gift cards. In some of these emails, scammers impersonate legitimate companies and promise these gift cards as rewards for loyal customers. They may also send a pop-up ad or text with a link stating that you are a randomly selected winner.

How to avoid:

If you receive an unsolicited email with a gift card offer, please do not open it. Mark it as spam or spam. You can learn more here.

Alerts about compromised accounts

You’re more likely to fall in love with this during the busy holiday season. This scam claims that your Amazon, Paypal, Netflix or bank account has been compromised. Victims receive an email, phone call or text message explaining suspicious activity on one of their accounts, urging them to take immediate action to prevent their account from being compromised. Learn more about stolen account scams here.

How to avoid:

Be extra careful with unsolicited phone calls, emails, and text messages. Do not trust claims from unsolicited communications. If you would like to check your account status, please visit this website directly. It’s also a good idea to learn how legitimate businesses communicate with customers.

false shipping notification

With more online shopping means more notifications about shipping details from retailers and carriers. Scammers are taking advantage of this new surge to send phishing emails with links that could allow unwanted access to private information or download malware onto your device. They may also try to trick people into paying a new shipping fee. Learn more about delivery and package fraud here.

How to avoid:

Take precautions to ensure safe delivery – If you have valuable or fragile items delivered to your door, purchase shipping insurance. Get a tracking number for your package and check its status regularly. You can also request a signature and be sure to keep an eye out for texts, calls or emails about missed deliveries. Legitimate delivery services will often leave a “missed delivery” notice on your door.

Read about the other top scams here.

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