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Don’t Fall For Them: FBI Issues Alert For Online Shopping Scams

The FBI is warning the public of cybercriminals targeting shoppers hoping to take advantage of online bargains and hard-to-find gift items for the holidays.

During the 2020 holiday shopping season, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 17,000 complaints regarding the non-delivery of goods, resulting in losses of over $53 million, the agency said.

 It is anticipated this number could increase during the 2021 holiday season due to rumors of merchandise shortages and the ongoing pandemic.

That’s why criminals are busy finding ways to entice their victims in multiple ways including:

  • Emails advertising hot-ticket or hard-to-find items, such as event tickets or gaming systems.
  • Untrusted websites and ads promoting unrealistic discounts and bargains.
  • Social media posts, often appearing to have been shared by a known friend, offer vouchers, gift cards, freebies, and contests.
  • Social media hosted advertisements for non-existent or counterfeit items.
  • Online surveys designed to steal personal information.

To prevent any unhappy mishaps that may spoil your holiday, the agency offers the following tips:

  • Verify websites prior to making a purchase. Only purchase items from official, encryption-using websites. 
  • Be wary of online retailers who use a free email service instead of a company email.
  • Do not judge a company by its website; flashy websites can be set up and taken down quickly.
  • Pay for items using a credit card dedicated to online…

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