On Black Friday it was reported that a 14-year-old boy was relieved of his shopping purchases outside of a mall in the wee hours of the morning according to WTOP. But the FBI says it isn’t just shoppers frequenting malls getting robbed, as online shoppers looking for Cyber Monday deals will encounter criminals too.
In advance of Cyber Monday sales, the FBI is issuing a warning to online shopping customers. And one of those warnings pertains to gift card offers found on social media sites.
In one online scam the criminals claim to be from a major retailer, luring unsuspecting shoppers into providing them with personal information along with their social media account access data.
Another potential scam the FBI warns of involves auction and classified advertisement websites, where criminal advertise that they have a product being sought (or a popular gift card) for considerably less than it would cost elsewhere.
The FBI says there is also the “one day only” website, where criminals hawk high-demand products online. The catch, of course, is that the customer isn’t likely to ever see it, but they will lose their money in the process — and could end up having their identity stolen and bank account robbed.
The FBI warning in advance of Cyber Monday deals would not be complete without mentioning the high possibility that an email or text message could make its way to a buyer’s email account or cell phone.
And those phishing and scam email, text messages seek to draw out financial information by posing as a well-known retailer, asking for credit card confirmation. If the shopper does business with this particular customer, it might make them think the email or text is legitimate.
To help avoid phishing and scam emails don’t go on social media sites and discuss what banks or retailers you frequent or have accounts with. Don’t give out your email address to just anyone, especially during the holidays.
And visit the legitimate website of the retailer, accessing your account with them directly, to check for any official offers or correspondence, or phone them up directly. Never click on an email link in your email account, or respond to a text message in order to do that.
The FBI says that if the online Cyber Monday deal looks to good to be true, it probably is.
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