Tech Tips

How To Avoid Online Scams This Holiday Season

Experts say online scams around the holidays are growing because of Americans' increased reliance on e-commerce for shopping.

How To Avoid Online Scams This Holiday Season
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Black Friday kicks off one of the biggest online shopping periods in the U.S., and with all that money being spent, it's a lucrative time for cybercriminals to get a hold of your cash and personal information.

Experts say online scams around the holidays are growing because of Americans' increased reliance on e-commerce for shopping.

According to the Better Business Bureau, online scams have been 55% more prevalent than other delivery methods this year — like scam calls or texts — with 75% of people losing money when targeted.

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Alex Hamerstone is the director of advisory solutions at TrustedSec and says one current trend involves gift purchases via social media.

Some fraudsters will pretend to be a small business and use misleading advertisements or posts to sell counterfeit goods, or take payments for products that don't exist.

"If you're buying something from a certain website, use the payment tools that are embedded in that site," he said. "A scammer will try to get you to use a different payment method and they'll ask you to go wire them money or use some link to a payment site," Hamerstone said.

Scammers are also creating fraudulent social media profiles for charities to exploit people's generosity.

According to the Better Business Bureau, 40% of all charitable donations are received during the last few weeks of the year.

Experts tell Newsy that if a small business or charity looks suspicious, run a search to see if victims have posted about being scammed online.

If you do make a purchase, use a credit card so you can dispute the charge if it ends up being a scam. And if you're a victim of a scam, report it to the BBB and Federal Trade Commission, who keep running databases of scams to identify trends and build cases against scammers.