This is the season when scammers, phishers, and pure old crooks try every scheme in their books to sneak money from you unawares. So, the best way is simply do not deal with anyone who contacts you via the internet unless you know them and/or unless you have done business with them previously. And even then, don’t reply to them via the email you might get since none of these low-lives are above using a legitimate company name to take you in.
If you have been ordering from some company, go to their website on your own rather than to reply to what might be a legitimate looking address but may be a trap.
The following three items are concerning fraudulent classified ads or auction sales. These are furnished by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
1. Internet criminals post classified ads or auctions for products they do not have. If you receive an auction product from a merchant or retail store, rather than directly from the auction seller, the item may have been purchased with someone else’s stolen credit card number. Contact the merchant to verify the account used to pay for the item actually belongs to you.
2. Shoppers should be cautious and not provide credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or other financial information directly to the seller. Fraudulent sellers will use this information to purchase items for their scheme from the provided financial account. Always use a legitimate payment service to protect purchases.
3. Diligently check each seller’s rating and feedback along with their number of sales and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller with 100% positive feedback, if they have a low total number of feedback postings and all feedback was posted around the same date and time.
Watch out for fraudulent gift card scams. There are a number of scams where some claim to have purchased bargain gift cards from some merchant or company and are passing the savings on to you. Don’t try it. The safest way to buy a gift card is from the business itself or one of it’s authorized dealers. Often, the scammers have procured the cards fraudulently and the merchant is already aware of the fraud and has deactivated the cards.
One of the most frequent scams is that of emails, text messages or even phone calls telling you there is a problem with your credit card account and that you should contact them immediately. Again, don’t do it. They are only trying to get you to disclose some personal information such as an account number or password/pin number, etc.
For more detailed information on these scams, you may visit the FBI IC3 website.