Beware shopping scams delivered through deceptive social media ads, BBB says

Scammers are targeting online shoppers more than ever, according to the Better Business Bureau, which released its annual list of top holiday scams Monday.

The most popular way criminals are trying to entice victims is through deceptive ads on social media.

"[Shoppers are] seeing these fancy ads showing up on their social media ads. They click on the link. They're sent to a nice website. The product looks like something they want. They make a purchase and then either that product is not delivered or it's counterfeit," said Bryan Oglesby, a spokesperson for the BBB of West Florida.

Oglesby said con artists are also using social media gift exchanges and mobile holiday apps to try to scam people.

"Do some research on the app. Know what information is collecting from your phone and just be a savvy parent," Oglesby said.

Other common scams include false alerts "compromised" accounts, look-alike websites that appear nearly identical to those of major retailers, fake charities and ads for holiday jobs that don't exist.

Experts said scammers almost always have the same things in mind.

"They're either trying to steal your personal identity. You perpetrate identity theft, maybe steal your credit card to make online purchases, or they're trying to collect money from you," said Oglesby.

The Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to check with the BBB if they have any concerns. Most questions can be answered through the organization's website,