Beware of online shopping scams this holiday season
(KAKE) - From social media to fake storefronts, online scammers are going all out to steal your information and your money this year. There are ways, however, to avoid them.
The website socialcatfish.com released a study Thursday on the top five online scams to be aware of during this holiday season.
The number one scam on their list is the "missing package" scam, where thieves pretend to be a shipping company, and send either an e-mail or text message with a link to track your package. When you click on the link, though, they steal your personal and financial information.
You can avoid this scam simply by never clicking on links from an unexpected delivery notice.
Another scam that you may have seen in years past is still making the rounds this year: the Secret Sister or Secret Santa Sisterhood on social media. This is a pyramid scheme, where it's promised that if you send ten dollars, or a gift such as a bottle of wine to one person, you'll get money or gifts back from 36 other people.
In order to get all of that, you have to give up your personal information.
Denise Groene of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas says that this scam is scary.
"You're giving, you know, your email address, sometimes even your address so they can mail you a gift to somebody that you're not sure who they are, where they're located or what they're going to do with your information once you provide it to them," she said.
Then, there are all those fake retailers and websites that are trying to take advantage of the supply shortages at local stores, as well as holiday charity scams and fake Instagram giveaways.
In each of these cases, Groene says it's all about doing your homework.
"A lot of the fake websites that we see from these scammers, the contact section maybe only has an email address, so they're not transparent as to where they're located. We've also seen with some of these fake websites that they do have an address, however, it's completely bogus or it's the address to a UPS store," Groene added.
Here are some more tips you can use to prevent being scammed:
- If you're not familiar with an online business that you're interested in purchasing from, take the time to do your due diligence to make sure that it's a reputable, legitimate business before you buy anything from their websites.
- If you wish to donate to people or charities this year, donate locally, perhaps at a church, or different retail stores in your area. You can also give anonymously through non-profits in your area.
- And as always, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.