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SCAM ALERT: Con artists use patriotism to steal money and information

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Independence Day is yet another opportunity for criminals to take your information and your money.

Here are a few of the ways they can use patriotism against you.

First, American flags. There is usually an increased demand for flags and other patriotic-themed items this time of year. According to the Better Business Bureau, Hoosiers have reported ordering expensive flags but never getting them or their money back.

In another scheme, scammers use fireworks to steal your information and money. According to the BBB, some people will use temporary fireworks stands to copy credit card information.

Better Business Bureau President and CEO Tim Maniscalo says, "Typically, we tell people to buy with your credit card, but in this case, it might be better to actually pay cash if you're going to buy from one of these temporary fireworks places. That just keeps your credit card, things like that, a little more secure, so just be on the lookout for that."

Scammers will also use Independence Day to get you to support fake military and veterans charities. These scams can come in the form of calls, texts, emails and social media posts. Again, this is in an effort to get your personal information and access to your money.

To avoid phishing scams like this you can go to Give.org to check that a charity is real.

To avoid flag-buying scams you can research the company you plan to buy from and check the website for any red flags like spelling errors and bad grammar.

Remember, you can report scams to help others! Just use the BBB's Scam Tracker.

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