Better Business Bureau warning: Beware of fraudulent Dear Santa websites

(A Message from the Better Business Bureau)                                                          



Chicago, IL- More than 60 domain names are registered in the name of Santa Claus, offering children a wide range of opportunities to email St. Nick. Sadly, some of the websites aren’t always so trustworthy and can potentially be a dangerous way to share personal information. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising parents to do their homework before letting their child write to Santa this holiday season.  


Letters to Santa may seem innocent and fun, but it is very important for adults to carefully review websites to determine who is seeking information, how it will be used and whether it will be shared with third parties.


“Writing Santa is a favorite tradition for many families,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Unfortunately, some of these Santa sites do not have the best intentions, and will misuse information handed over by children.”


All websites directed to children – or websites designed with a special children’s section – should have a privacy policy that explains the site’s information collection practices. The privacy policy should include the name of the company and the company’s complete contact information.  


It should also state whether the company shares information with third parties, including advertisers, and whether the company publicly discloses the information or retains the information for any future purpose.  


The BBB offers the following ‘Dear Santa’ site review tips:


Check to see what they are seeking. Websites directed at children should not ask a child to disclose more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity.


Limit the personal information children share online and omit physical addresses. In many cases, there really shouldn’t be a need to share this information. Instead, provide just a first name and email address.


Check websites for unwelcome content. Some sites are geared toward adults and may contain language or advertising adults may not want children to see.


Check the links. Since hyperlinks can allow children to move seamlessly from one site to another, investigate the hyperlinks to assure children don’t access inappropriate content.  


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