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November 21, 2022

If the deal is too good to be true, it probably isn't safe.

It’s that time of year when online shopping and holiday scams hit peak season. Shoppers looking for savings or popular items should be cautious of offers that are too good to be true.

Be cautious of...

Malicious sites and ads with appealing graphics and low prices. You won’t get your merchandise and the scammers will have your credit card number and other personal information.

  • How to protect yourself: If this is your first interaction with a new merchant, ensure you are shopping on a secure website and read reviews before you provide any personal information or pursue the purchase.

Fake shipping alerts designed to look like they're from FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service hoping you'll click on the link, which loads malware on to your device or takes you to a phishing website the scammer has created.

  • How to protect yourself: Only use tracking numbers provided to you in the email you receive after you make the purchase or use the store's website to track any packages you're expecting. Always get tracking numbers for online purchases so you can follow the delivery progress.

Payment requests via pre-paid gift cards. The “seller” (scammer) will ask you for the gift card number and PIN for your payment, but will steal the gift card funds and you will not receive your product.

  • How to protect yourself: Do not send gift card information to anyone for any reason. If you use a gift card for payment, legitimate sellers and sites have gift card information entry fields similar to debit and credit card fields during check out.

If you find an offer you have determined to be legitimate and you are to the checkout point, continue to use caution and be careful how you pay. Try to use one card for all your shopping or utilize a digital wallet option so card information is not directly input into websites, this makes it easier to monitor for any unauthorized or suspicious transactions.