The FBI New Orleans Division warns of cyber criminals targeting shoppers hoping to take advantage of online bargains and hard to find gift items for the holidays. Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information.
Consumers need to be vigilant in knowing who you’re buying from or selling to, be careful how you pay, and monitor the shipping process. Fraudsters are looking to scam victims through online shopping, charity, work-from-home, social media, gift cards, and smartphone apps. As always – if the deal sounds too good to be true, chances are it is a scam.
Consumers can do the following to reduce their chances of being victimized:
- Check bank and credit card statements routinely, including immediately after making an online purchase and weeks following the holiday season.
- Only purchase merchandise from a reputable source.
- Don’t trust a website to be secure just because it claims to be.
- Do not respond to spam e-mails or click on links contained within them.
- Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mails that ask for personal information.
- Be cautious of all e-mail attachments and scan them for viruses before opening.
- Verify requests for personal information from businesses or financial institutions by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
- Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
If you suspect you’ve been victimized, contact your financial institution immediately, call your local law enforcement agency, and file a complaint at ic3.gov or the FBI (visit tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI).
For more information on holiday scams, visit http://www.fbi.gov/holidayscams.
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