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BBB warns of the 12 scams of Christmas

Image: MGN Online

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Better Business Bureau has issued a new warning just in time for holiday shopping.

Officials say that some retail apps that look real and use real store names could be fake.

The goal of the scammers, they say, is to take advantage of the holiday shopping season and steal personal information.

The BBB says the scam has impersonated Apple store apps for well-known retailers, like Dollar Tree, Nordstrom and Zappos.

Some of the apps steal banking and credit card information; others lock the phone and demand ransom to unlock it.

Another concern is that some apps require users to log in through social media, exposing personal information there.

The BBB reports that Apple is actively removing these apps, but developers simply build new ones.

“Look at certain things on the app, things like misspelled words or how neat does it look,” said Tim Maniscalo with the Better Business Bureau. “Good companies will have a very professional looking app, and the other ones may not necessarily be all that professional looking.”

The BBB offers some tips to protect personal information:

  • Read the fine print in the app store, especially the reviews
  • Get the app through the retailer’s web site
  • Freeze your credit

If you are aware of an impostor app, report it to the Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker.

If you are a victim, the BBB says to say call your financial institutions immediately.