Holiday Scam Warning from the FBI

By | December 9, 2021
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Holiday Scam Warning from the FBI

Every year, during the holiday season, we like to post a reminder to be vigilant because crooks and charlatans use the holiday shopping season to take advantage of people. This year’s warning is from the FBI. We hope it serves to keep you safer during this holiday season so that you can enjoy Christmas and this joyous time of year with your family and friends.

We hope this information helps to keep you safe. We wish you a very Merry Christmas, a very happy holiday season, and a safe and healthy new year!

Holiday Scams 

When shopping online during the holiday season—or any time of year—always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Do your part to avoid becoming a scammer’s next victim.

When shopping online during the holiday season—or any time of year—always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Do your part to avoid becoming a scammer’s next victim.

Every year, thousands of people become victims of holiday scams. Scammers can rob you of hard-earned money, personal information, and, at the very least, a festive mood.

The two most prevalent of these holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes. In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Conversely, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2020 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $265 million. Credit card fraud accounted for another $129 million in losses.

Similar scams to beware of this time of year are auction fraud, where a product is misrepresented on an auction site, and gift card fraud, when a seller asks you to pay with a pre-paid card.

The IC3 receives a large volume of complaints in the early months of each year, suggesting a correlation with the previous holiday season’s shopping scams.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Scams

Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself—and your wallet.

Practice good cybersecurity hygiene.

Don’t click any suspicious links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media. Phishing scams and similar crimes get you to click on links and give up personal information like your name, password, and bank account number. In some cases, you may unknowingly download malware to your device.

Be especially wary if a company asks you to update your password or account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own and call the company.

Know who you’re buying from or selling to.

Check each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate and secure. A site you’re buying from should have https in the web address. If it doesn’t, don’t enter your information on that site.

If you’re purchasing from a company for the first time, do your research and check reviews.

Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before moving forward with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.

Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such deals.

Be wary of sellers who post an auction or advertisement as if they reside in the U.S., then respond to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar reasons.

Avoid buyers who request their purchase be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.

Be careful how you pay.

Never wire money directly to a seller.

Avoid paying for items with pre-paid gift cards. In these scams, a seller will ask you to send them a gift card number and PIN. Instead of using that gift card for your payment, the scammer will steal the funds, and you’ll never receive your item.

Use a credit card when shopping online and check your statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.

Monitor the shipping process.

Always get tracking numbers for items you buy online, so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.

Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the cardholder does not match the shipping address when you are selling. Always receive the cardholder’s authorization before shipping any products.

And remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If You’ve Been Scammed…

Call your credit card company or your bank. Dispute any suspicious charges. Contact local law enforcement.

Report the scam to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov.

Source FBI 

Merry Christmas!

4 thoughts on “Holiday Scam Warning from the FBI

  1. Carol Carlson

    Excellent advice from FBI, TC. About paying for online purchases: I always use PayPal – never Google Pay or giving my financial info to any online seller. My motto is: If it doesn’t have availability of PayPal, it doesn’t get my business. Period! Many online sellers, I found, don’t make it easy to find the box to click on for payment with PayPal. You have to search for it during checkout. Click on every little arrow that is found in various search (choice) boxes. PayPal is hidden somewhere. Online sellers prefer that you give them your credit/debit card number, so it won’t cost them anything to extract payment directly from your personal financial/bank accounts. That’s beneficial financial planning on their part; not always good customer service/relations planning, so not good “business” in the end, in some cases. That’s just my 2 cents.

    Reply
  2. Joann Bolen

    Many THANKS for your excellent advice & suggestions. It’s such a shame, but the entire country is “full” of stalkers, frauds, etc. Nobody wants to be a victim of such crimes! Your constant HELP is ever so much appreciated. Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS & God’s Blessings in the New Year. Sincerely, Joann Bolen

    Reply

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