ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — In 2019, Arkansans lost more than $22.6 million through several scams, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This year, the FBI has ways consumers can remain vigilant against falling for schemes set up by criminals.
Here are three tips on avoiding getting “scammed”
- Online Shopping Scams: Keep clear of websites that offer unrealistic discounts on brand-name merchandise. Scammers often prey on Black Friday and Cyber Monday by advertising “One-Day-Only” promotions from recognized brands. Many time consumers will pay for an item, giving away personal information, and getting nothing in return except a compromised identity.
- Payment Red Flags: Watch out for sellers and websites that only accept gift card payments. Scammers will encourage shoppers to do wire transfers, allowing them to get quick access to money. Credit cards are usually your best bet for online shopping, because several layers of security are required in order to use the card.
- Charity Scams: Charity-related frauds increase during the holidays. Criminals use phone calls, email campaigns, and fake websites to solicit on behalf of fraudulent charities. Scammers target those who donate, then keep the donations, while those most in need end up with nothing.
AVOID HOLIDAY FRAUD SCHEMES
- Make sure all your financial accounts have strong passwords/passphrases, before shopping online.
- Check your bank and credit card statements often.
- Never give personal information to anyone you do not know, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, or billing addresses.
- Watch out for promotions and giveaways that ask for personal information.
- Before you donate to any charity, make sure they have a valid Taxpayer Identification number by visiting their website, or by directly calling the charity.
If you suspect you’ve been victimized contact your bank immediately, then call local law enforcement, or FBI Little Rock (501) 221-9100. Victims may also file a complaint with the FBI at www.ic3.gov.