FBI Charlotte Issues Warning About Holiday Shopping Scams
With more people than ever before shopping online, FBI Charlotte wants to warn shoppers to be diligent about what gifts they are buying, and where they're buying those gifts. Scammers count on you not to do your homework, and to believe those expensive gifts in pop-up ads are truly half price. Don’t fall for it. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers may offer too-good-to-be-true deals through phishing e-mails or advertisements. Some may offer brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or promise gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product.
There are ways to protect yourself when shopping online:
- Buy directly from a secure and reputable website.
- Beware of social media posts that appear to offer special vouchers or gift cards, or particularly low prices.
- Verify the legitimacy of buyers or sellers before making a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check feedback ratings.
- Avoid solicitations or ads with misspelled words, broken English, or requests to pay for your order with a gift card.
- Track your order through your original confirmation e-mail.
- Check your credit card and bank statements regularly to make sure no fraudulent charges show up.
If you suspect you've been victimized:
- Contact your financial institution immediately upon suspecting or discovering a fraud.
- Contact local law enforcement.
- File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.