It’s that time of year again when holiday shopping is in full swing. But along with the joy of finding the perfect gifts comes the potential for scams. An online shopping scam is when an online transaction is made, but the item or service you paid for never arrives or does not exist as described. Be on the lookout for these holiday online shopping scams that can ruin your holiday season.
Beware of Fake Websites
The holiday season is a prime time for scammers to create fake websites that look like well-known retail sites. These sites are designed to trick you into entering your credit card information or personal data. Before you enter any payment information on a website, make sure you verify that the site is legitimate. Look for security features like https in the URL and a closed lock icon in your browser.
Beware of Phishing Emails
Scammers also use the holidays as an opportunity to send out phishing emails that appear to be from well-known companies. These emails may contain fake holiday offers or include attachments with viruses. Be very careful about clicking on links or opening attachments in emails, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. If you’re not sure if an email is legitimate, contact the company directly to ask.
Beware of Other Scams
In addition to fake websites and phishing emails, scammers may also use other methods to try to steal your money or personal information. Be on the lookout for fake charity solicitations, lottery scams and other schemes. Don’t let the excitement of the season cloud your judgment. Take your time and be cautious when giving out your personal information or sending money to someone you don’t know.
Do your Research
To avoid holiday online shopping scams, do your research to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Check out the company’s website and read customer reviews. Make sure the site is secure before you enter any payment information. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the company.
If you suspect that you have been scammed by an online retailer, act fast. Dispute the charge with your credit/debit card company, save all documentation related to the transaction for reporting purposes and notify the FBI IC3.