Watch out for the # 1 Black Friday scam

He’s an old man, but a bad guy.

Supply chain issues and shortages of some electronics, toys and other commodities, the holiday season and let off steam after a second year of the global pandemic are creating a perfect storm for would-be thieves.

The Federal Trade Commission said there were 57,769 reports of online shopping fraud from Jan. 1 to Oct. 18, followed by travel scams (46,458), diet scams (15,713), government (12,491) and commercial impostors (8,794).

And the # 1 way to contact potential victims? Believe it or not, this is old school email. These pesky phishing links were the point of contact, resulting in 19,107 fraud reports in the same period.

Black Friday is fertile ground for scams.

Emails were closely followed by fake websites (17,444), text messages (16,742), phone calls (14,156) and social media (10,520). The shopping scams, most of which were online, accounted for losses of more than $ 47.3 million, the FTC said in a recent report.

“In addition to losing money on a fake purchase, unsuspecting consumers may give out personal information and debit or credit card details,” the Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a public service announcement.

“During the holiday shopping season of 2020, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received more than 17,000 complaints of non-delivery of goods, resulting in losses of more than 53 million dollars. dollars, “he added. He expects the number to increase this year.

Black Friday is fertile ground for scams. Consumers spent $ 5.1 billion online on Thanksgiving and are expected to spend between $ 8.8 billion and $ 9.6 billion online on Black Friday, according to the latest data from Adobe Analytics.

For the holiday season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31), purchases are expected to reach $ 207 billion, a 10% year-over-year increase and a new all-time high. Scammers pretend to be buyers and pose as online buyers with fake UPS or Fedex links.

How to say vigilant

So how can you be more vigilant? The ‘s’ in ‘https’ adds a layer of security – https: // instead of http: // – to spot websites that appear legitimate and / or claim to be part of a well-known brand. This Gucci Too Good To Be Cheap is probably a fake.

Don’t be persuaded to pay with bitcoin or Western Union. Stick to secure payment methods like PayPay and use a credit card rather than a debit card, as the former tend to offer more protection against fraud.

The FBI also suggests, “Never shop using public Wi-Fi. Only buy gift cards directly from a trusted merchant. Never use the same password on multiple accounts. Don’t judge a business on their website.

The crooks are trying to catch you off guard.

“Beware of sellers posting under one name but requesting that funds be sent to another person, or any seller claiming to be inside the country but requesting that funds be sent to another country,” he adds. -he.

Video chat with the owner before purchasing a pet, according to the FBI. “Criminals will use legitimate website photos to promise the non-existent pet to multiple buyers. Red flags include additional shipping / transportation costs, taxes and / or vaccination fees. “

Bottom Line: Phone calls, emails, and bogus websites are all designed to catch you off guard. You may, for example, be stressed or tired after a long day at work and panic if you see a message that is supposed to be about your holiday shopping.

If you are the victim of an online scam, report it to the FBI IC3 as soon as possible, report the activity to the online payment service used for the transaction, and contact your financial institution immediately.

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