This is the season to be merry and enjoy the special people in our lives. But, since this is also a spending season, we must be even more vigilant about our purchases.
This article provides tips from the FBI on how to be careful.
What to Do if You Are a Victim
If you are a victim of an online scam, the FBI recommends taking the following actions:
Contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity and direct them to stop or reverse the transactions.
Ask your financial institution to contact the corresponding financial institution where the fraudulent or suspicious transfer was sent.
Report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov, regardless of dollar loss. Provide all relevant information in the complaint.
The FBI has a lot of experience with fraud, and provides the following tips to keep you safe this holiday.
Also, you may want to remember to “Not feed the plants!”
To good to be true
Scammers often offer too-good-to-be-true deals via phishing emails or advertisements. Such schemes may offer brand-name merchandise at extremely low prices or offer gift cards as an incentive. Other sites may offer products at a great price, but the products being sold are not the same as the products advertised.
Social Media Shopping Scams
Consumers should beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards. Some may appear as holiday promotions or contests. Others may appear to be from known friends who have shared the link. Often, these scams lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is designed to steal personal information.
If you click an ad through a social media platform, do your due diligence to check the legitimacy of the website before providing credit card or personal information.
Gift Card Scams
During the holiday season, consumers should be careful if someone asks them to purchase gift cards for them. In these scams, the victims received either a spoofed e-mail, a spoofed phone call, or a spoofed text from a person in authority requesting the victim purchase multiple gift cards for either personal or business reasons.
As an example, a victim receives a request to purchase gift cards for a work-related function or as a present for a special occasion. The gift cards are then used to facilitate the purchase of goods and services, which may or may not be legitimate.
Fraudulent charity scams, in which perpetrators set up false charities and profit from individuals who believe they are making donations to legitimate charitable organizations. Charity fraud rises during the holiday season, when individuals seek to make end-of-year tax deductible gifts or are reminded of those less fortunate and wish to contribute to a good cause. Seasonal charity scams can pose greater difficulties in monitoring because of their widespread reach, limited duration and, when done over the Internet, minimal oversight.
Charity scam solicitations may come through cold calls, email campaigns, crowdfunding platforms, or fake social media accounts and websites. They are designed to make it easy for victims to give money and feel like they’re making a difference. Perpetrators may divert some or all the funds for their personal use, and those most in need will never see the donations.
If you have questions about this, please let us know and we will be happy to assist you.