‘Tis the Season for Holiday Scams
JACKSONVILLE, FL—Criminals are gearing up for the holiday season with aggressive and creative scams designed to steal consumer’s money and personal information. Florida ranked second in the number of alleged victims who filed complaints with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint center in 2014, and this year the FBI Jacksonville Division is warning local shoppers to be extra vigilant of the following schemes and red flags.
Online Shopping Scams—If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of unfamiliar sites offering items at unrealistic discounts or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product. You may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and then receive nothing in return except a compromised identity. In addition, do not open any unsolicited e-mails or click on the links provided.
Social Media Scams—Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests. Often, these are scams that lead you to participate in an online survey that is actually designed to steal personal information. In addition, do not post photos of event tickets on social media sites. Fraudsters can use the barcode to recreate tickets for resale.
Smartphone App Scams—Before downloading an app from an unknown source, look for third-party reviews. Some apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information from your device.
Work-from-Home Scams—Beware of unfamiliar sites and postings offering work you can do from the comfort of your own home. These opportunities may have unscrupulous motivations behind them. You should carefully research individuals or companies offering employment before providing them with your personal information.
Consumers who suspect they’ve been victimized should immediately contact their financial institution, then law enforcement. They are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, regardless of dollar amount lost (www.IC3.gov).