Officials warn to ‘stay vigilant’ online as scams continue to rise this holiday season

Scams

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Officials are warning shoppers to remain extra vigilant this holiday shopping season as online scams continue to rise.

“We know that during the holidays a lot of people are doing online shopping both due to the pandemic as well as for convenience and a lot of scammers are aware of that as well,” said Internal Revenue Service spokesperson David Tucker. “We just want to create some awareness so people remember to protect their information both financial and personal in this time of celebration.”

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the other holiday sales, Tucker said it’s a gold mine for scammers.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 report, nonpayment or nondelivery scams cost people more than $265 million dollars. Credit card fraud accounted for another $129 million in losses.

Experts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said there are multiple things you can do to prevent being scammed, including not clicking on unknown websites and links, double-checking the URL of a site to make sure it says “https” with the “s” meaning secure, never paying money directly to a seller, and monitoring the shipping process.

Tucker agrees, adding to also create “strong and unique” passwords with multi-factor authentication, using credit cards over debit, and checking your bank statements often.

If you want to donate to a charity for Giving Tuesday, Tucker recommends double-checking the legitimacy of the organization and its site. You can do so here.

The Better Business Bureau also wants customers to remember the golden rule: if it’s too good to be true, it is.

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