Am I being deceived? How to protect yourself from fraud when shopping

This ad caught my eye as I was looking for a unique Christmas gift for my garden-loving sister. One manufacturer was going out of business due to the pandemic. Half-price liquidation deals in the Art Arena! Wonderful!

The video showed a beautiful wind fan opening and closing in the breeze like a flower. I couldn’t give up $60 fast enough.

The chest that finally arrived was the size and thickness of a chessboard. When it was assembled, the majestic-looking online patio art was barely noticeable in the planter on the porch where I placed it after being too embarrassed to gift it.

It has rusted overnight.

Welcome to holiday shopping, where not all ads are true and scams spread like spice among the real deals of the season. Google and the Cybercrime Support Network predict that over the next year scammers will steal $3 billion from shoppers like you and me.

The Better Business Bureau refers to the inevitability of holiday scams with what it calls “list of hooligans. It highlights websites that don’t sell real merchandise that doesn’t exist or looks like ads, package delivery scams, fake charities and more. My online discovery was an example of the most popular holiday scam. But there are plenty of others too.

Here’s a look at the top 12 holiday scams, according to the Better Business Bureau:

  • Misleading ads on social media. These can include ads for items that were never submitted, fake items, and charging for free trials that you never agreed to. The office said to visit BBB.org To check reviews and business profile before purchasing.
  • Exchange gifts on social media. It’s a grit in the old letter, where you send something like a $10 gift and are supposed to reap a pyramid of gifts in return. Or you send your email to a list where people send money to others to “pay it forward”. There is now even a “Secret Santa Dog” scam.
  • Holiday themed apps. look at apps that lets your child talk to Santa, for example. Some of them are legit, but you need to read the privacy policies to find out what information is being collected. Look for reviews. Some of them may contain malware. He is hope not.
  • Hacked account reports. the desk Fraud Tracker He heard about malicious actors claiming that popular payment accounts such as PayPal, Amazon or a bank were hacked. By email, phone call or text, consumers are warned about any suspicious activity and asked to protect themselves by logging in. Be careful.
  • Free Gift Cards. It is assumed that all you have to do is provide personal information in order to be able to receive the gift. Don’t even open the email. Definitely don’t click any links.
  • Vacation job offers. Everyone knows that retailers hire more help during the holidays, but be careful. What is packaged as an opportunity may be an excuse to steal money and personal information. Diligent vet holiday job offers.
  • Similar websites. Be wary of links inside emails. Hover over it to see where to redirect it. Pay attention to URLs.
  • Fake charities. The bureau reports that 40% of all charitable donations come near the end of the year. As COVID-19 has canceled many fundraising activities, real charities may seek donations online. Scammers certainly do. Watch out for fraudulent charities and scammers pretending to be needy individuals. Check out a charity at Give.org or on the Canadian Review Agency website. If you want to donate online, go directly to the organization’s website. Payment by credit card.
  • Fake Package Tracking. Scammers sometimes send fake shipping details and confirmations with links. Clicking on it could enable malware to invade your computer or provide crooks with access to your private information.
  • Fake virtual event fee: As some holiday events, such as craft fairs, moved online, scammers followed and started selling fake tickets. They are looking for credit card information, so ask the organizer if the event has a fee. If so, pay with a credit card.
  • Extremely Low Prices on High-End Items. You may have stumbled on a deal. But a very inexpensive piece of jewelry, designer clothing, or electronic gadget is likely to be a cheap fake or counterfeit. The bureau said that particular care should be taken when buying popular items such as Baby Yoda or game consoles through social media sites.
  • Puppy tricks. If you’re thinking about adding a fur baby to the family this holiday season, check out the bark before you bite into it. Pet scams are on the rise.

Google and the Cybercrime Support Network have created an online resource called Cheat Detectors To educate consumers and help them protect themselves. The main advice given is to slow down and make sure. If someone pushes you to donate, don’t do it. Your money will still be good – and needed if the charity is real – in a few days. Use this time to check things out.

Experts also recommend reviewing the details you hear. Find the organization or retailer yourself and contact them or visit their website. Don’t just assume you’ve been told the truth.

Keep this tip in mind: “If you think the push looks fishy, ​​it probably is.”

Beware, beware, take care, a company that sells privacy security and protection against identity theft, says there is a lot consumers can do to protect themselves if they plan to shop online.

The company recommends that people be “particularly wary” if they are asked to update their password or account information. Find the company’s phone number independently of the order and contact the company directly.

It also recommends not paying with prepaid gift cards. If the merchant asks for the gift card number and PIN, this is not standard business practice and you will likely find your card depleted. Pay with a credit card, keep an eye on your statement, and if a suspicious fee is charged, dispute the fee.

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