FBI Springfield Warns Scammers Work Overtime During the Holidays
There are two things on a scammer’s holiday wish list — your money and your personal information — and they are very clever at tricking you out of both. FBI Springfield is encouraging the public to be more vigilant than ever at spotting potential scams. In general, the types of scams do not change significantly from year to year. However, the techniques scammers use and the methods of deploying scams do change.
“As scammers continue to perfect their skills, take time to conduct due diligence to thwart their efforts,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “Slow down, look for red flags, and always protect your personal information. Going directly to a reputable source is the safest way to verify the legitimacy of a transaction.”
According to the FBI’s 2022 Internet Crime Report, 14,786 Illinoisans lost $266.7 million ranking fifth highest for number of victims and seventh highest for victim loss.
Consumers should beware of posts on social media sites that offer vouchers or gift cards. Some may appear as holiday promotions or contests. Others may appear to be from known friends who have shared the link. Often, these scams lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is actually designed to steal personal information.
Some mobile apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, can lead to the theft of 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.
Other scams include non-payment/non-delivery, investment, work-from-home, gift card, and charity scams. These types of scams share commonalities such as too good to be true deals, requests to take quick action, and payment via nontraditional means like gift cards or quick payment transfer sites or apps. The FBI suggests consumers do the following to reduce their chances of being victimized:
- Check your credit card statement routinely.
- If purchasing merchandise online, ensure it is from a reputable source.
- Do not trust a site with your credit card information just because it claims to be secure.
- Be cognizant of web page addresses that look like familiar sites but are slightly different.
- Do not respond to unsolicited emails or click on links within the e-mail.
- Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
- Only open attachments from known senders.
- Only donate to known and trusted charities.
- Secure credit card accounts with strong passwords or passphrases.
- Be cautious of exaggerated claims of possible earnings or profits.
- Beware when money is required up front for instructions or products for employment.
- Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of the country.
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, contact your financial institution immediately. Contact law enforcement and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov, regardless of dollar loss. You can also call FBI Springfield at 217-522-9675.
More information on holiday scams can be found on the FBI.gov website.