The Southern Alberta Better Business Bureau wants to remind residents of scams that may be circulating around the holidays when in the spirit of giving.

Canadian consumers are expected to spend more this year than 2017, and scammers will be looking to take a piece of the pie.

Shawna-Kay Thomas, External Communications Specialist with the Southern Alberta Better Business Bureau, says the top scam for the holiday season is malicious E-cards.

"You have the sender's name not being very clear, you have to click on a link to see who is sending it. This is just a way that scammers use to get your personal information. they want you to enter this information to get a card, which does not exist. Some of them will end with dot exe, which is a command to download a virus on your computer," she said.

Thomas adds when in the spirit of giving to charity, doing your research will ensure the company is legitimate.

"What they do is mimick legitamate charities, but sometimes there's just a misspelling in the name, or there is the word termed differently, one before the other. They may have a lot of errors in the description of work that they do. So, before people give to charity, we always say do your research," she said.

She says ways to check if charities are legitimate is to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure they are registered, and if they are not, Thomas says that is a red flag. Donors can also visit give. org to find out if the charity is legitamate.

Among others to watch for are look-a-like websites, grandparent scams, temporary holiday jobs, free gifts cards, letters from santa, fake shipping notifications, and travel and or puppy scams.

Social media gift exchange is high on the alert list as well, when you purchase one gift and would receive several in return. Although it may seem harmless, Thomas advises this seasonal scam is a pyrmid scheme, which is illegal in Canada.

If you come across any of these holiday scams, please help protect yourself and others by keeping a close eye on your financial statements and quickly disputing any unrecognized charges, reporting the incident to the BBB scam tracker, and filing a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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