Reports of online shopping scams involving consumer goods, such as shoes, phones, computers and toys, continue to be high. But the most common thing people were trying to buy when they were scammed was puppies and other pets.
There’s also been a rise in delivery scams, phishing emails and text messages pretending to be from DPD and Royal Mail. Such emails claim that you have missed a delivery and asks you to click on a link to reschedule, where you are then asked to enter your personal information and bank details.
When it comes to trying to source a loved one their dream gift, many of us will go out of the way to search online for the cheapest version of the product you’re after. This doesn’t only mean you’re potentially buying fake products, but you could also be giving your money away and not even receiving anything in return. Make sure that websites are legitimate to order from my checking they are secure (https not http).
If they don’t have any contact details visible and ask for money over the phone, these are other red flags that the company isn’t planning on giving you anything for your spend. It’s always a safer bet to pay a more common and expected price for a gift, as if a product’s price seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Ecards and gift cards
Unlike old-fashioned paper greeting cards that you can open without worry, digital greetings come with an added risk. Just as your family and friends find them fun and convenient to send, scammers see them as a great opportunity to catch you with your defenses down so that they can rip you off.
Like many email-based phishing scams, greeting card cons use social engineering tactics to trick unsuspecting victims into responding.
Here’s how it works: You see an email message with an innocent-sounding subject line, announcing that someone you know — coyly, it doesn’t say who — has sent you an e-card. The email includes a link or attachment and, often, has a message or logo that makes it appear to have come from a familiar greeting-card company such as Hallmark, American Greetings or 123Greetings.
Clicking the link might send you to an adult website, or one that’s booby-trapped with malicious software. Opening the attachment could trigger a malware download direct to your computer.
Here are a few clues that an ecard is bogus…
– Spelling mistakes — e.g. congratulation! Or your name is misspelled.
– Errors in the message — e.g. it says you sent a card, not received one.
– The sender isn’t someone you know.
Scammers impersonate genuine charities and ask for donations or contact you claiming to collect money after natural disasters or major events. Scammers will pose as either agents of legitimate well-known charities or create their own charity name. This can include charities that conduct medical research or support disease sufferers and their families. They may also pose as individuals needing donations for health or other reasons.
Fake charities operate in a number of different ways. You may be approached on the street or at your front door by people collecting money. Scammers may also set up fake websites which look similar to those operated by real charities. Some scammers will call or email you requesting a donation.
Here’s how to make sure your donations go to the right place:
– Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any of your financial information. Look for the registered charity number on the charity’s website.
– If you’re approached by a collector on the street or at your door, ask to see the collector’s ID badge. You can also check whether the collector has a licence to fundraise with the local authority, or has the consent of the private site owner.
– To donate online, type in the address of the charity website yourself rather than clicking on a link. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly about donating.
Be careful clicking on ads
An ad for that perfect gift you’ve been searching for may take you to a fraudulent website where your information may be at risk, or one selling fake goods. Look over the ad for a business name or website. If it seems suspicious, google the company or type the website in to visit the site.
If you do click on the ad, experts at Facebook say to check the website name: Is it what you expected, or did the ad take you to a completely different site? If it has, exit out immediately and look for somewhere else you can purchase the product.
Use reliable payment methods
If you can rein in your spending, make sure you shop with a virtual card this holiday season. Jeton Pay is the perfect solution for a safe online shopping. The prepaid payment method, can be used to purchase goods and services from hundreds of resellers. Jeton cards are digital vouchers that can be redeemed from tons of online merchants globally.
If you think you’ve been targeted with any of the scams mentioned in this article, then make sure you report it to Action Fraud immediately. If you think you’ve sent money to a scammer, then you should also contact your bank as soon as possible as they may be able to recover your money.
Reporting scams and spreading fraud awareness is the only way to get ahead of the scammers.