Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more people are deciding to online shop for gifts during the holidays. Scammers know that times are changing due to COVID-19, and are coming up with online holiday scams that will trick any person who isn’t careful. Because of this, we have compiled a list of holiday online shopping scams to watch out for as you are getting your loved ones the gifts of their dreams.
Types of Holiday Online Shopping Scams to Watch Out For
Holiday Online Shopping Phishing Scams
Scammers send out phishing emails to their victims, notifying them that they have the best deals on their websites. The victims believe in the email and click on the link to get to the website. Once the victims are on the website, there are items on the website that they believe is for sale.
The victims click on an item to buy on the website for a good deal, and the website asks for personal and financial information. Once the victims give up their personal and financial information, the scammer can then steal it to commit identity theft and drain their bank accounts.
Paying With a Gift Card or Wire Transfer
In some instances, the fake websites that are mentioned above require that you pay for their items using a gift card or wire transfer. This is because these methods of payment are untraceable, making it nearly impossible for the victims to get their money back.
Data Breaches and Credit Card Fraud
Even when you are shopping on an official online retail store, such as Amazon or Best Buy, there are instances where data breaches happen. Data breaches are where scammers hack into a store’s security system and steal stored credit card information, account information, and personal information from customers.
With this information, they can take a customer’s credit card information and commit credit card fraud by stealing your money or buying things for themselves on online stores. They can also commit identity theft with this information.
Not Receiving Your Item
This could happen for numerous reasons. The first reason being that someone stole the package off your doorstep before you could realize that it arrived. The second reason is that the item never shipped in the first place, and the scammer just took your money without providing you with a package in return.
The third reason that your package got lost in transit, which is why it’s important to keep tracking your package with your tracking code. If you didn’t receive a tracking code or an email with tracking information, this is a huge red flag that you bought a fake item that isn’t coming and you were involved in a scam.
How to Avoid Holiday Online Shopping Scams
- Don’t give out your personal information to an online store if it doesn’t make sense. The online store will need your name, email address, phone number, and address to send the package, but don’t give out information like your social security number or your driver’s license number. Also, do your research on the online shop before giving your information out while online shopping.
- Don’t give out your financial information to an online store without doing your research. When buying something, make sure to do your research on the online store before filling out a credit card form, and don’t save the credit card information in case of a data breach. If the website you are purchasing an item from requires a wire transfer or gift card to purchase the item, this is a huge sign that the website is fake and you should exit out of it.
- If you notice unfamiliar charges on your card, report them to your credit card company. By reporting this to the company, they might be able to get you some or all of your money back.
- If you don’t receive your item, make sure to report it to the FTC and the online store you purchased it from immediately. With Amazon, usually, you will get your money back if you didn’t receive your item. However, if you purchased the item from a store that’s not very known or doesn’t have any contact information, chances are you have been involved in the scam and need to contact the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of online holiday shopping scams.