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FBI El Paso Warns of Not So Merry Holiday Scams

☷FBI El Paso Warns of Not So Merry Holiday Scams

Federal Bureau of Investigation
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   If you’re online shopping this holiday season , be on the lookout for scammers trying to steal a deal , too! As you shop online , you may encounter more online shopping scams and they can take many forms . Scammers are often aggressive and creative in their efforts , and there are certain red flags and common schemes holiday shoppers can guard against this holiday season . “As you shop online during this holiday season , remember that it’s also the season for holiday scammers to try to swindle you out of your hard - earned money , ” said Jeffrey R . Downey , ...... Special Agent in Charge of the FBI El Paso Field Office . “Scammers are creative all year long , but during the holiday shopping season they will try a variety of ways to prey on unsuspecting shoppers . The simplest tips can save you a lot of money: verify the legitimacy of websites before providing financial or personal information; if the deal from an unknown seller looks too good to be true , it probably is . If you believe you have been the victim of a scam , please report it to the FBI at IC3 . gov or contact the FBI El Paso Field Office at 915 - 832 - 5000 . ”The FBI El Paso Field Office reminds El Paso and Midland/Odessa - area shoppers to beware of scams and stay vigilant of scammers who may try to steal your money and personal information . Remember , if it looks too good to be true , it probably is!Common Scams Online Shopping Scams: Scammers often offer too - good - to - be - true deals via phishing e - mails or advertisements . Such schemes may offer brand - name merchandise at extremely low prices or offer gift cards as an incentive . Other sites may offer products at a great price , but the products being sold are not the same as the products advertised . Consumers should steer clear of untrustworthy sites or ads offering items at unrealistic discounts or with special coupons . The victims end up paying for an item , give away personal information and credit card details , then receive nothing in return except a compromised or stolen identity . Secondary markets for airline miles , gift cards , rewards credits , and other similar products have inadvertently increased the demand for stolen information and boosted its value . Social Media Shopping Scams: Consumers should beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards . Some may appear as holiday promotions or contests . Others may appear to be from known friends who have shared the link . Often , these scams lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is designed to steal personal information . If you click an ad through a social media platform , do your due diligence to check the legitimacy of the website before providing credit card or personal information . Work - From - Home Scams: Consumers should beware of sites and posts offering work they can do from home . These opportunities rely on convenience as a selling point but may have fraudulent intentions . Consumers should carefully research the job posting and individuals or company offering employment . Gift Card Scams: During the holiday season , consumers should be careful if someone asks them to purchase gift cards for them . In these scams , the victims received either a spoofed e - mail , a spoofed phone call , or a spoofed text from a person in authority requesting the victim purchase multiple gift cards for either personal or business reasons . As an example , a victim receives a request to purchase gift cards for a work - related function or as a present for a special occasion . The gift cards are then used to facilitate the purchase of goods and services , which may or may not be legitimate . Charity Scams: Fraudulent charity scams , in which perpetrators set up false charities and profit from individuals who believe they are making donations to legitimate charitable organizations . Charity fraud rises during the holiday season , when individuals seek to make end - of - year tax deductible gifts or are reminded of those less fortunate and wish to contribute to a good cause . Seasonal charity scams can pose greater difficulties in monitoring because of their widespread reach , limited duration and , when done over the Internet , minimal oversight . Charity scam solicitations may come through cold calls , e - mail campaigns , crowdfunding platforms , or fake social media accounts and websites . They are designed to make it easy for victims to give money and feel like they’re making a difference . Perpetrators may divert some or all the funds for their personal use , and those most in need will never see the donations . Smartphone App Scams Some mobile apps , often disguised as games and offered for free , are designed to steal personal information . Before downloading an app from an unknown source , consumers should research the company selling it or giving it away and look online for third - party reviews of the product . Consumers should also be mindful that alternative app marketplaces available to “jailbroken” or “rooted” devices can potentially include copyright infringement , stolen content , and compromised versions of otherwise trustworthy applications . Tips to Avoid Being Victimized Do your homework on the retailer/website/person to ensure legitimacy . Conduct a business inquiry of the online retailer on the Better Business Bureau’s website ( www . bbb . org ) . Check other websites regarding the company for reviews and complaints . Check the contact details of the website on the “Contact Us” page , specifically the address , e - mail , and phone number , to confirm whether the retailer is legitimate . Be wary of online retailers offering goods at significantly discounted prices . Be wary of online retailers who use a free e - mail service instead of a company e - mail address . Don’t judge a company by their website; flashy websites can be set up and taken down quickly . Beware of purchases or services that require payment with a gift card . Beware of providing credit card information when requested through unsolicited e - mails . Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e - mail or respond to them . Check credit card statements routinely . It is important to check statements after the holiday season , as many fraudulent charges can show up even several weeks later . Avoid filling out forms contained in e - mail messages that ask for personal information . Be cautious of e - mails claiming to contain pictures in attached files , as the files may contain viruses . Only open attachments from known senders . Verify requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website . Secure credit card accounts , even rewards accounts , with strong passphrases . Change passwords and check accounts routinely . Make charitable contributions directly , rather than through an intermediary , and pay via credit card or check; avoid cash donations , if possible . Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to reputable charities; most legitimate charity websites use . org ( NOT . com ) . What to Do if You Are a Victim If you are a victim of an online scam , the FBI recommends taking the following actions:Contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity and direct them to stop or reverse the transactions . Ask your financial institution to contact the corresponding financial institution where the fraudulent or suspicious transfer was sent . Report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3 . gov , regardless of dollar loss . Provide all relevant information in the complaint . For additional information and consumer alerts , and to report scams to the FBI , visit IC3 . gov .


24 November 2022 ( November 24 2022 )



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FBI El Paso Warns of Not So Merry Holiday Scams
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