OUR VIEW: Beware of holiday shopping scams

Published 11:45 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

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There’s a lot of purchases being made right now as everyone floods stores (and websites) to purchase gifts for their friends and families for the holidays.

With so much going on — and so many gifts to buy — it’s easy to slack up, get into the season and forget that (unfortunately) criminals are out there looking for any way to get your personal information.

According to the FBI, the two most prevalent of these holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes.

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In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for something (usually online) but they never receive the item. A non-payment scam is exactly the opposite — an item being shipped but the seller never paying.

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.

The FBI offers some tips on its website on how to avoid becoming a victim of a holiday scam.

It recommends being wary if a company asks you to update your password or account information.

It also says to check each website’s URL you are visiting to ensure it is legitimate and secure.

The FBI says any website you are buying from should have “https” in its web address.

The FBI also warns to be wary of sellers who post an auction or advertisement saying they reside in the U.S., then respond to inquiries saying they are out of the country on business, family emergency or similar reasons.

It also recommends using a credit card when shopping online and checking your credit card statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute it.

The FBI also recommends getting tracking numbers for anything you purchase online.

This is a busy time of year, and shopping has moved more online than ever before. It’s easy to buy something from the comfort of your own home, on your schedule, without having to fight the crowds.

But it comes with concerns, such as online security. Be wary and make sure you are buying from reputable websites. Following the FBI tips above will help ensure you don’t have your identification stolen.