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Safe Holiday Shopping Tips

Safe Holiday Shopping Tips - The Beacon


By: Jackie

Safe Holiday Shopping Tips

The FBI has issued a Press Release warning that cyber criminals are targeting holiday shoppers. According to the Press Release, the scammers use the following techniques:

Fraudulent Classified Ads or Auction Sales. In this scheme, criminals post ads or auctions for products they do not have. Consumers pay for the item or items, but never receive the merchandise. If consumers buy from an auction seller, but receive the item(s) from a merchant or retail store instead of the auction seller, the item(s) “may have been purchased with someone else’s stolen credit card.” In the Press Release, the FBI advises consumers not to provide their credit card or bank account numbers or other financial information directly to the seller. Instead, use a legitimate payment service. Check the seller’s rating and feedback including the dates the feedback was posted. Use caution if all the feedback is positive and posted on or around the same date and time.

Gift Card Scam. The FBI advises purchasing gift cards directly from the merchant or authorized retail merchant.

Phishing and Social Networking. According to the Press Release, the FBI warns consumers to be leery of emails or texts telling you that you have a problem regarding your financial accounts. In one variation you are told to click on a link or call a number to update your account or correct the problem. Once you put in your personal information, it will be stolen and you could be the victim of identity theft. In another variation you are directed to a spoofed website that looks much like the legitimate website and told to enter personal information.

One Day Promotions. Criminals often use the hot items of the season to lure consumers into providing their credit card information.

The FBI offers these do’s and don’ts to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:

*Don’t respond to unsolicited (spam) email.

*Don’t click on links in an unsolicited email.

*Be leery of emails claiming to contain pictures in attached files. Always run a virus scan on attachments before opening.

*Don’t fill out forms contained in an email that ask for personal information.

*Do compare the link in the email to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.

*Do log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the email instead of clicking on a link in an unsolicited email.

*Do contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify that the email is genuine.*Don’t let yourself be pressured to “act quickly.” It may be a scam.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.