There are some popular scams that pop up every fall, according to the Better Business Bureau that serves Southern Alberta and the East Kootenays, but the non-profit also says there are ways for consumers to avoid them.
BBB spokesperson Shawna-Kay Thomas said one of those scams involve Halloween.
“There are many scary things that happen around that time — one such thing is pop-up shops,” Thomas said.
Those shops set up for Halloween and once the holiday is over they tear down, leaving many consumers with no place to turn if there is a problem.
The BBB suggests consumers find out how long the company has been in business and how long will it stick around after the holiday. The non-profit also suggests consumers find out if the shops have a website, a permanent address or even an email address.
Christmas can be anything but merry if you’re scammed and the BBB advises consumers to be cautious when they start online shopping.
Thomas said the most important thing to do is to make sure you’re on a legitimate site.
“It should have a locked symbol in that domain which suggests the website is safe,” she added.
“And if you’re shopping online, always use a credit card because that’s the best way to track your payment, and if something goes wrong, you can always try to get some recourse.”
Rounding out the top three fall scams, according to the BBB, is the snow-shovelling scam.
The non-profit cautions people to be careful about who they hire to clear the snow from their property. The BBB also says to be especially careful when it comes to payment.
“Look at company reviews, look at their history, look at complaints,” Thomas said. “And when you’re doing that, you also want to get multiple estimates — don’t just get one, because getting one you’ll think that’s the best deal but there may be many out there with better deals.”
Thomas’ final tip: when it comes to paying that person, don’t pay everything up front. Instead, pay in stages with the remainder at the end.