By Kelly Sargent
Black Friday has come and gone. We’re hoping you survived it unscathed and weren't taken in by any online scams.
But today is Cyber Monday and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday! And those days as well as every day from now until the holidays are over are rife with scammers.
Here are a few tips from The New York Times. to help you spot a scam
Creating a false sense of urgency is a common scammer tactic.
— In 2022 scammers posed as Home Depot, sending emails promising $500 gift cards to a limited number of shoppers. The catch was that buyers had to pay a small shipping fee, and of course there was no $500 gift card in return.
Before buying something from an Facebook or Instagram post, check out the account behind it to confirm that the offer is legit.
— Shopping scams on Facebook and Instagram, comprised 44% of reported social media fraud in the first half of 2023. The most common scam is a simple one: Scammers take payment for an item, typically clothes or electronics, and never deliver the product.
Look at every URL carefully before you click.
— Even an email or text that appears to be from a store where you shop regularly that promises an especially good deal might not be legit.
Keep an eye out for unusual constructions or misspellings in URLs.
— Amaz0n.com is not the same as Amazon.com, for example, and usps.upspb.com is not the US Postal Service.
Watch for misspellings in messages and poorly designed sites.
— Scammers are getting better at making sites look legitimate, but poor grammar and spelling and amateurish looking sites can be a giveaway.
Check to see if the business making an offer is actually still active before entering payment information.
— Scammers take over legitimate storefronts and use digital credit card skimmers to intercept payment information. Compromised online shops number in the hundreds, with 80 new malicious domain names registered by a single scammer operation in October. Outdated copyright information can be a sign that the site isn’t properly maintained and could be compromised.
Unfortunately, even Giving Tuesday isn’t necessarily safe. California’s Department of Justice has these suggestions:
— Check the charity’s registration status.
— Give to organizations you trust.
— Watch out for ‘look-alike and fake websites and emails.
— Don’t be pressured by telemarketers.
— Watch out for similar-sounding names and other deceptive tactics.
— Protect your identity by never giving our your Social Security number or other personal identifiable information.
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