FBI Warning: ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Scams
NORFOLK—If you’re shopping online this holiday season, FBI Norfolk is warning the public to be on the lookout for scammers trying to steal a deal, too.
During the 2022 holiday shopping season, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received reports from almost 12,000 victims with a loss of over $73 million.
The two most prevalent holiday scams that were involved are called non-delivery and non-payment. In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Conversely, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid.
“The most important thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of scams like these is to make sure you do your homework when you’re shopping,” said FBI Norfolk Special Agent in Charge Brian Dugan. “While there are always new twists to these scams every year, the scammer’s intent is still the same – to take advantage of folks during a vulnerable season. Heeding the old saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,’ can go a long way in saving consumers from becoming victims.”
The FBI suggests consumers do the following to reduce their chances of being victimized:
- Verify the websites utilized to purchase and sell items. Web addresses should begin with https:// and include a locked padlock icon.
- Be wary of online transactions that use payment methods such as wire transfers, virtual currency, gift cards, or cash.
- Pay for items using a credit card dedicated to online purchases and check statements.
- Verify the legitimacy of all parties involved by looking at consumer reviews, including the Better Business Bureau.
- Do not click on links in unsolicited e-mails or provide personal or financial information.
- Make sure anti-virus/malware software is up to date and block pop-up windows.
Other common scams to watch out for this holiday season include investment scams, smartphone app scams, work-from-home scams and gift card and charity scams.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, regardless of the time of year, contact your financial institution immediately, and file a report with IC3.gov.
Visit the FBI’s PSA for more information on holiday scams.