SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Gearing up for the holiday shopping season? So are fraudsters, according to the FBI.
The agency’s Salt Lake City Field Office is warning the public to be aware when shopping online this year. They say that keeping the old adage of “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” in mind while shopping.
Two of the most prevalent holiday shopping scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes, according to the FBI Salt Lake City Office. In non-delivery situations, victims send a payment but never receive a good or service. In non-payments situations, goods and services are shipped by the victim is never paid.
A 2020 report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, these two scams cost people more than $264 million with credit card fraud accounting for another $129 million.
Utah victims have reported nearly $3.1 million in losses in non-delivery or non-payment scams in 2020. That is substantially more than reported in Montana – $349,880 – and Idaho – $688,153. Utahns lost $1.5 million in credit card fraud while Montanas saw $137,558 and Idahoans lost $769,075.
The FBI encourages keeping these tips in mind while shopping online:
Know who you’re buying from and selling to
Be sure to check each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate and secure. If it doesn’t have https in the URL, don’t enter your personal information on that site. If you are purchasing from a company for the first time, do your research and check the reviews.
Additionally, check the feedback ratings of buyers and sellers online. Avoid sellers who act like authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such deals.
Be careful how you pay
Never wire money directly to a seller and avoid paying for items with pre-paid gift cards. Scammers have been known to steal the funds from these gift cards and never send you your item. Use a credit card when shopping online and check your statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.
Monitor the shipping process
When you buy an item online, be sure to get the tracking number to monitor when it has been shipped. If you notice a credit card purchase where the address of the cardholder doesn’t match the shipping address.
If you suspect you’ve been victimized, the FBI says to contact your financial institution immediately, call your local law enforcement agency, and file a complaint at ic3.gov.