LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Hundreds of millions of dollars are estimated to be lost to scams this year, and a big driver is holiday shopping. The Better Business Bureau calls the next few months ‘open season’ for scammers targeting victims and they said the data shows the most susceptible victim aren’t who you’d think.
Already, this year the Federal Trade Commission has seen more than 200,000 online shopping scam complaints, total losses of more than $270 million. The BBB said their data shows more than 30% of those scams start with fake websites and social media.
“You almost feel like people are walking right into the crossfire without even knowing it,” said Josh Planos, BBB.
The BBB said online shopping losses are estimated to exceed $380 million this year, and the age group at the highest risk are 18 to 24 year olds.
“Because of things like social media advertisements, and and folks doing more online shopping than ever before, we have a new market for scammers to infiltrate,” Planos said.
Most of these scams start with ads on your social media timelines.
“These are things that may advertise you know the latest product or high-end purses, you’ll click on them and it will take you to a website you’ve never seen before,” Planos said.
Here are some signs that should make you think twice. First are misspellings in URL’s.
“They might be amazon65.com, and people aren’t double or triple-checking that URL,” Planos said.
Second are prices that are too good to be true.
“You want to think you have the golden ticket, you want to think you’re the one who is getting the price nobody else is getting,” Planos said.
Third, if they’re asking you to pay with unusual forms of payment, like Zelle or Cryptocurrency.
“If you are paying, it’s best to pay by credit card, it offers the most protection against loss,” Planos said.
If you have doubts that the website is real.. take a minute to double check. Google the name of it and look it up on the BBB website.
Finally, know when to call it a loss and report it as fraud, because often after checking out and paying shipping once, scammers will ask for more.
“So maybe an extra $10.99 isn’t going to be the end of the world, but then it becomes an extra $10.99 and an extra $10.99 and the product didn’t exist in the first place,” Planos said.
In general, it’s best just to forgo clicking on social media ads at all, going directly to reputable known websites, or shopping in person is an easy way to minimize risk.
If you’ve been victim of any scams similar to this, send your stories to TURNTO1011@1011NOW.COM.
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