The Better Business Bureau is warning you ahead of time, how to avoid these holiday scams and enjoy your virtual time with family and friends. These days things can look SO real, that it can be hard to tell the difference between what is "REAL" and what is "FAKE."

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THE GRANDPARENTS SCAM

My parents have had this happen to them on numerous occasions. Luckily my parents are on the up and up, and pretty much know when they are being duped.  The Grandparents scam is when a supposed Grandchild (actually the scammer) calls a Grandparent claiming that they've been in an accident; or they've been arrested, or they're in the hospital. They then ask the Grandparent to send them money by wire. Although we know things can happen anytime, confirm with a family member before doing anything.

FREE GIFT CARDS

There are many many online ads and emails out there that will offer you a free gift card just for opening the email. They are trying to obtain your personal information. Don't fall for it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

PHONY CHARITIES

Many of us thing about our favorite charities during the holiday season. Instead of shopping online or responding to supposed requests from your charities of choice, go directly to the source to make your donations.

LOOK ALIKE WEBSITES

If you are doing your holiday shopping online, make sure you are using legitimate sites. Verify that the site's payment page is secure. Look for 'https" in the web address. The "s" stands for secure.

There are lots more scams out there. You can always report scams to the BBB or go to the BBB if you are suspecting a scam.