Nothing spoils Christmas as crime does.
The holiday season is meant to be a time of giving, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying to take advantage of others. While online shopping has made buying presents easier than ever before, it’s also given scammers more opportunities to steal people’s money.
In general, if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is. (iStock)
The FBI recently issued a press release detailing ways that consumers can stay safe from seasonal shopping scams.
Two of the most common scams are non-delivery scams and non-payment scams. The first involves a transaction where a buyer sends the seller money but never receives the item. In the second situation, the seller ships out the item, but the buyer never sends the payment (or provides a fraudulent payment).
In both cases, people can avoid falling prey to these scams by using trustworthy sites and avoiding unrealistic discounts or offers.
In general, if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
The FBI also recommends regularly checking bank and credit card statements. This way, if a fraudulent charge shows up, it can be dealt with before more charges appear.
When it comes to making purchases, credit cards offer the most protection. The FBI warns against buying anything from a seller that demands cryptocurrency or wire transfers. Those options allow scammers to quickly receive their funds, and usually in a way that’s impossible to refund the victim.
Also, some scammers will ask for payment solely through gift cards. As is the case with previous payment options, it’s very difficult (or impossible) to return funds to a victim through a gift card.
Most importantly, the FBI states that everyone should secure all of their financial accounts with strong passwords. It’s also important to use a different password for each account.