WYOMING, MICH. - As online shopping continues to make getting the best deals easier and faster, the risk for scams and identity theft increase as well.
This year's Cyber Monday sales are expected to hit $3.36 billion.
In lieu of such blowout sales and scams, the Wyoming Police Department has put together a list of holiday shopping safety tips to help people avoid being misled by too-good-to-be true offers, identity theft and other holiday season scams.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest days for online shopping. According to the Wyoming Police, always double check coupons and coupon codes because if it seems like the offer is too goo to be true, it probably is. Always make sure the deal if from a legitimate company.
Keep an eye out for email or text alerts that let you know you have received a package from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service, but then asks for additional personal information. Do not give out any additional personal information; package and mail handling services such as these should not need it.
Always be wary of refund scams circulating the Internet. The scam could come as an email from what looks like Amazon, a hotel, or retail chain claiming there was a "wrong transaction." Always check bank statements and shopping history to verify where money is being spent. Do not click on links in emails or text messages to be refunded money you didn't spend for risk of infecting your device with malware, the Wyoming Police advise.
The Grinch E-Card Greetings
Malicious e-cards are sent by the millions to unsuspecting inbox. Never open suspicious emails or e-cards sent from email addresses you don't recognize.
The Fake Gift Card Trick
Fake gift cards are promoted through social media in effort to collect personal information that can be sold to cyber criminals. Always double check that if signing up for gift card raffles or drawings on fan pages, the page is affiliated with the actual company or organization.
The holiday season is synonymously known as the giving season, people looks to donate to charitable entities should always be aware and familiar with the organizations they are giving personal information and money to. The Wyoming Police say that the safest route to take is to donate to charities you already know about and refuse the rest.
The Direct Message Scams
The Wyoming Police would always like to remind people to beware of direct message scams from fake social media profiles. If another social media user directly messages you with offers to sell, giveaway products or offer coupon codes, be careful before continuing communication and never pay up front.
Extra Holiday Money Fraud
Many people are looking for extra money this time of year, however, the Wyoming Police cautions holiday shoppers in need of extra change to avoid easy work-from-home jobs. The police state that the most innocent of these holiday job scams ask for your Social Security number to potentially steal your identity. The worst of these scams could utilize you to launder money, which could get you into serious legal trouble.
If you are planning on bringing your laptop or tablet to a public location, be very wary of connecting to a public wi-fi network. Holiday scammers have been reported to set up free wi-fi signals in public places to shop for credit card numbers. The police warn online shoppers that if you are using public wi-fi connections to not use your credit or debit card when doing so.
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