The holiday shopping season is upon us and, with that, comes a multitude of online scams.
The FBI is cautioning people to shop and surf with care this holiday season, especially as, each year, the number and sophistication of online scams increase.
“Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information,’ the FBI said in a press release. “If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand name merchandise or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product, as you may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity.”
The FBI is warning shoppers not to not open any unsolicited e-mails or click on sketchy links. The agency also suggests people beef up their bank, credit card and rewards card passwords before shopping.
Social Media Scams: These often offer vouchers or gift cards and may even appear to be shared by an online friend. Others are disguised as holiday promotions or contests that lead to participation in an online survey that filch personal information.
Smartphone App Scams: Apps appearing as free games can be used to steal personal information from the owner’s device. Before tapping on download, do a little research via third-party reviews. Also, alternative app marketplaces are not always a safe place from which to download.
Work-From-Home Scams: Such scams often ask for money up front before kits, instructions or products can be received. These are always scams. “Carefully research individuals or companies before providing them with personal information and never provide personal information when first interacting with a potential employer,” the FBI said.
To avoid becoming a fraud victim, the FBI suggests following the advice below:
To report fraud, consumers should first contact their financial institution and then law enforcement. They should also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center regardless of dollar amount lost.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.
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