HOUSTON – Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we can finally focus on the holidays. Even though they look a little different, many people are starting to get their holiday shopping done.
The FBI put out a list of tips that could help protect you from online scammers as you shop.
- Make sure the website is reputable before shopping or providing info like your credit card number. Just because a site says it’s secure, doesn’t mean it is. Also be mindful of sites that ask you to pay using a gift card.
- Deals that look too good to be true typically are. You will want to avoid those kinds of deals or suspicious sites, emails or ads offering unrealistic discounts as you may end “may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information and credit card details, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity.”
- Do not open or click on any links inside unsolicited emails.
- Be wary of social media posts (some posing as holiday promotions or contests) offering discounts, deals or free gifts cards/vouchers. These can often lead to surveys that will compromise your private information.
- Be careful if you received either an email, phone call, or text from a person in authority asking you to purchase multiple gift cards for either personal or business reasons. The gift cards are often used to facilitate the purchase of goods and services which may or may not be legitimate.
- Secure your personal accounts such as banking, credit or other accounts that contain anything of value with strong, different passwords.
- Keep a close eye on your credit and bank statements to make sure no fraudulent charges are being made.
If you suspect you’ve been victimized, the FBI said you should:
- 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.