December is upon us, and it is now the season for shop, shop, shopping. More and more people are avoiding the crowds of massive malls and choosing to comfortably shop at home. Unfortunately, this time of year is not without the potential pitfalls of seasonal scammers. We have a few easy tips on how to be a smarter shopper this year.
Over 50% of people are expected to shop online this year – not surprising, considering all of the selections and perks the internet has to offer. Unfortunately, with all of that ease, comes those who want to (and sometimes succeed) swindle unsuspecting customers out of money meant for presents.
Confirmation emails and shipping notifications will fill your inbox after making your purchases, but beware for malware snuck into falsified messages. These are easy to avoid if you know what and from who you ordered.
False messages will often look real, with similar color schemes or logos. Look closely. Is anything misspelled? Are the images blurry? These can often be clues for fake accounts looking to grab information. Before opening any external links or attachments, be vigilant and take a second look at each email.
Have you been on Facebook and seen a holiday gift exchange? Usually along the lines of “BUY ONE GIFT, RECEIVE SEVEN!” If it seems too good to be true then it might be a pyramid scheme. You should never give out your home address to any social media platform.
Have you thought about buying a cute animal just from their photo online? This is sometimes a scam from puppy mills and shady animal farms – the old bait and switch. Make sure when you buy animals, you are going in person, making sure you get a full medical history. Even better, adopt, don’t shop. Humane, no-kill shelters take excellent care of animals, and usually are able to vaccinate and microchip pets before they find new homes.
This season should be full of joy not disappointment or shock from cheap scams. Use these tips and have a safer holiday!