Keep an eye out for these holiday scams


If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

This holiday season as you are out or online looking for gifts be aware that scammers are also out and about.

Special Agent Jeff Collins is over the Cyber Squad department at the FBI Salt Lake City Division. He says scams don’t change during the holidays, but the techniques criminals use do.

Collins recommends avoiding websites that are unfamiliar to you.

“Don’t just automatically trust it because, you know, it’s such a good deal,” Collins said.

The FBI says you should never click on any links or attachments with an unsolicited email and always beware of providing credit card information or personal information when requested through unsolicited email. 

He says often times scammers use gift cards to scam people. They’ll impersonate someone you know and trick you into buying gift cards or offer you a gift card.

“They’re trying to trick you into providing information…so often they’ll say ‘Please fill out this survey before you can obtain the gift card.'” Collins says from there they’ll send (or sometimes they don’t even send one) a fake gift card and then use the information they took from the survey against you.

Other tips?

  • Always get a tracking number for items purchased online so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
  • Be wary of sellers who post an auction or advertisement as if they reside in the U.S., then respond to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar reasons.
  • Avoid sellers who post an auction or advertisement under one name but ask that payment be sent to someone else.
  • Consider canceling your purchase if a seller requests funds be wired directly to them via a money transfer company, pre-paid card, or bank-to-bank wire transfer. Money sent in these ways is virtually impossible to recover, with no recourse for the victim. Always remember that anyone who asks you to use one of these forms of payment might be a scammer. A credit card is generally the safest way to pay for an online purchase.
  • Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such dealers.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before moving forward with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.
  • Avoid buyers who request their purchase be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.
  • Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the cardholder does not match the shipping address. Always receive the cardholder’s authorization before shipping any products.
  • Always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

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