TEXAS, USA — There’s nothing wrong with saving a few bucks and using online coupons when shopping for the holiday season. Unfortunately, scammers tend to ruin the shopping experience and con shoppers out of their money.
With the coronavirus pandemic still plaguing the globe, 62% of Americans say they'll do more of their shopping online, according to experian.com. So far, 24% of survey respondents reported being a victim of identity theft or fraud during the holidays.
Abilene Better Business Bureau President John Riggins advises shoppers to avoid giving out credit card numbers and personal information, even as tempting as it may be.
“Before you share any information with any individual or a company, you need to know who you’re doing business with first. Everyone’s intentions aren’t good,” Riggins advised.
So what are some scam red flags?
“You can get it cheaper here”
“You have won a free gift card”
“Claim your prize now”
“Check out this free trial”
In addition to these commonly-used scam phrases, scammers can hack into your recent searches and advertise to you on social media. These misleading ads can result in scammers collecting personal information from your phone and possibly doing damage.
“Some parents get their kids puppies for Christmas. Well the Big Country has been flooded with calls recently about losing hundreds of dollars to scammers who say they're selling a dog but they’re not. This is a big issue to look out for,” Rigged said.
With consumers increasingly worried about supply chain disruptions and forecasts for record-breaking online spending for the 2021 holiday season, it is especially important for online shoppers to know how to protect themselves from deceptive advertising and online scams that may trick them into purchasing non-existent merchandise.
Riggins’s big suggestion is to look up any website you may be skeptical of on the Better Business bureau website. BBB will give information on the company and if it is trustworthy or not.