Ho Ho Ho – Oh, No! Scams Abound

Photo by Rachelle MILLER

By Mary O’KEEFE

Scams happen year round and are so common that most people have either been scammed or have just missed being scammed.

Amazon recently sent out a notice of the most common scams concerning its orders but that notice can be applied to other company online orders as well.

One scam is the order confirmation scams. These occur when people receive an unexpected call, text or email about an unauthorized purchase. The victim is then asked to act quickly to provide payment or bank account information. Attempts are also made for victims to install software on their computer or other device.

“Remember if you receive correspondence regarding an order you weren’t expecting, you can verify orders by logging into your Amazon account. Only legitimate purchases will appear in your order history and Customer Service is available 24/7 to assist,” stated Amazon.

It is important to verify the phone number or email contact information for Amazon or any other company by reaching out to that company – not by using the information provided in the email. Scammers have gone as far as creating fake websites.

“Customers who land on these pages are lured to contact the scammer and fall prey to their schemes,” according to Amazon.

The FBI also has warnings this holiday season for consumers, especially for those shopping online.

“Scammers are often aggressive and creative in their efforts. They use unorthodox scams to steal your money and personal information. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” according to the FBI.

The two most prevalent holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes.

“In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Conversely, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid,” according to the FBI.

As of October 2022, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) had received more than 44,220 complaints with losses over $276 million.

Again, the general warning by law enforcement— “If it is too good to be true” —reminds a potential buyer that the deal most likely is scam. Scammers send out phishing emails and/or advertisements just waiting for a response. It is important for shoppers to know with whom they are dealing with– specifically companies that consumers know or can check out online.

Scammers are just not reaching out through emails but also through social media. The FBI warns people to beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards. Often these scams are designed to lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is designed to steal personal information.

A sign that things may not be legitimate is when consumers are asked to pay a bill or purchase an item by purchasing and sending gift cards.

The FBI has some tips on how to avoid being a victim of these scams. These include consumers doing their homework on the retailer/website/person they plan to do business with to ensure legitimacy; conducting a business inquiry of the online retailer on the Better Business Bureau’s website  www.bbb.org,  checking other websites regarding the company for reviews and complaints; checking the contact details of the website on the “Contact Us” page, specifically the address, email and phone number to confirm whether the retailer is legitimate; and being wary of online retailers offering goods at significantly discounted prices.

For additional information visit cvweekly.com.