FBI Oklahoma City Issues Warning About Holiday Scams
The holiday season is in full swing…and so are the bad guys looking to swindle unsuspecting shoppers out of their money. Due to Covid-19, more people are shopping online this year, and shoppers may encounter more online shopping scams.
“Scammers don’t take the holidays off from swindling unsuspecting shoppers,” said Melissa Godbold, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office. “Shoppers should be more vigilant then ever for scams designed to steal their money and personal information. The Oklahoma City Field Office reminds Oklahomans to beware of scams and stay vigilant.”
When shopping online, make sure a site is secure and reputable before providing your credit card number. Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure. Beware of purchases or services that require you to pay with a gift card. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
These simple tips can save you money: Verify the legitimacy of websites before providing financial or personal information; if the deal from an unknown seller looks too good to be true, it just may be a scam, so do your due diligence and do not click on e-mail or text message links from unknown senders.
Consumers should steer clear of untrustworthy sites or ads offering items at unrealistic discounts or with special coupons. They may pay for an item and give away personal information and credit card details, receiving nothing in return except a compromised identity.
Shoppers should not post pictures of event tickets on social media sites. Fraudsters can create a ticket using the barcode obtained from the photo and resell the ticket. Consumers should protect ticket barcodes as they would credit card numbers.
Beware, some mobile apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, are designed to steal personal information. Before downloading an app from an unknown source, consumers should research the company selling it or giving it away and look online for third-party reviews of the product.
Shoppers should scrutinize sites and posts offering work they can do from home. These opportunities rely on convenience as a selling point but may have fraudulent intentions. Consumers should carefully research the job posting and individuals or company offering employment.
Guard against someone asking you to purchase gift cards for them. In these scams, the victims received either a spoofed e-mail, a spoofed phone call, or a spoofed text from a person in authority requesting the victim purchase multiple gift cards for either personal or business reasons.
Exercise caution when considering charitable donations. Charity scam solicitations may come through cold calls, e-mail campaigns, crowdfunding platforms—soliciting money from many people usually over the Internet—or fake social media accounts and websites. They are designed to make it easy for victims to give and feel like they’re making a difference. Perpetrators may divert some or all the funds for their personal use, and those most in need will never see the donation.
Check credit card statements routinely. If possible, set up credit card transaction auto alerts, or check your balance after every online purchase. It is important to check statements after the holiday season, as many fraudulent charges can show up even several weeks later.
Be cautious of e-mails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders and scan all attachments for viruses if possible
If you suspect you’ve been victimized:
- Contact your financial institution immediately upon suspecting or discovering a fraudulent transfer.
- Request that your bank reach out to the financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent.
- Contact law enforcement.
- File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.IC3.gov, regardless of dollar loss.
- Avoid Holiday Shopping Scams: Don’t Fall Victim to Online Schemes
- Holiday Scams Podcast: Shop Safely and Smartly Online
- Common Crimes and Scams