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If You're Invited to This During the Holidays, Just Say No, Experts Say

The seemingly fun invitation could put your personal information at risk.

With winter fast approaching, friends and family members are once again gathering together to celebrate the holidays. From family parties to performances of The Nutcracker to white elephant swaps, there are countless holiday events to attend this time of year. However, in the case of one seasonal get-together, experts are warning you shouldn't so much as accept an invitation or you could be delivering your financial information into the hands of scammers. Read on to discover what invitation you should turn down this holiday season.

RELATED: Never Use This One Card to Pay for Holiday Gifts, FBI Says.

Be wary of invites to any formerly free holiday markets that are now charging admission fees.

woman shopping on a laptop with a christmas tree behind her

During the holiday season, many people eager to avoid crowded big box stores and support local vendors are likely to turn to their local holiday market for presents. And with concerns about the Omicron COVID variant on the rise, many events that were once held in person are being hosted online for another year.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), this has made online holiday markets a potentially lucrative opportunity for vendors and scammers alike. That's why the BBB is now advising that if you're invited to a once-free online holiday market that is now charging for admission, you should decline—at least until you can confirm with organizers that it's a legitimate event.

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Inputting your personal details could deliver them to scammers.

buying tickets online with credit card
Shutterstock/Alex Brylov

The BBB warns that, in some cases, scammers will use the same name or details from a past holiday event in their own event listing. When you click on the page to register for the event, you'll be asked to provide your personal information, often including your financial details to pay for the supposed event ticket.

Unfortunately, there is no ticket, nor is there an event—and those details are being submitted to the individuals perpetrating the con. In other cases, what appears to be a link to a ticket page will actually download malware onto your computer.

Do your research on the companies at any fair before attending.

business man working with laptop computer while sitting in coffee shop cafe

After confirming that the event's organizers are who they say they are—something that can be accomplished by contacting the brand hosting the event via their official website or social media pages—the BBB recommends doing additional research before buying a ticket.

Confirming the identities of the individual brands who will be selling their wares at the event can also help you avoid delivering your information to scammers. "If you are unsure if a shop is legitimate do an online search for that vendor's store rather than follow the link provided," the BBB recommends.

Certain precautions can help if you do get scammed.

person looking at receipt

While verifying the identities of the event's organizers and vendors is a good start, there are additional ways to protect yourself.

The BBB recommends using a credit card to make any payments at an online holiday market, inquiring about the vendor's return policy before purchasing any goods, and keeping your receipts if you do choose to make a purchase so that you can contact—or report—them if the need arises.

RELATED: If You Get This Message from Your Bank, Contact Authorities, FBI Says.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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