Fraud Education – Holiday Shopping Scams

Holiday Shopping Scams

The holiday season brings joy and merriment along with the hustle and bustle of gift shopping. Restaurants are packed with friends and family get-togethers and stores are filled with busy shoppers. Unfortunately, scammers get busy during the holidays, too. In recent years, online shopping has represented a significant percentage of all purchases during the holidays. Scammers are taking advantage of this increase.

Current common scams to be aware of include auction site scams, gift card scams, and non-delivery scams. Products are misrepresented, scammers are disguised as legitimate sellers, and pre-paid gift cards are commonly requested as the preferred form of payment.

Here are some best practices to avoid these Holiday Shopping Scams*:

  • Avoid suspicious links sent to you via emails, texts, and pop-ups to help avoid phishing scams.
  • Pay attention to a sudden request for an update or change to your contact information or password with a company’s site.
  • Do some research when purchasing from a company for the first time. Check reviews and ratings. A legitimate company should have numerous reviews and mixed ratings. If there are none, only a few ratings that are all positive, or numerous negative reviews, consider not completing the purchase.
  • Ensure the legitimacy and security of the website before entering your personal information.
  • Be wary of sales where the seller states the preferred payment method is wire transfer. Legitimate companies should be able to accept cards.
  • Do not provide pre-paid gift card numbers and PINs to a seller as a form of payment.
  • Consider using a credit card for your purchases and check the card activity frequently. Immediately report any unauthorized activity to the card company and follow their dispute procedures.
  • Get delivery tracking numbers so you can ensure shipping and follow the delivery process.
  • Be wary of items “sold” for free, for shipping costs only, or for next-to-nothing. These advertisements are usually a scammer’s attempt to draw victims’ attention.

The holiday shopping season can be stressful but taking these easy precautions will help reduce the potential of falling victim to scams. Check out our article on The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Online Shopping for additional tips.

First Mid is always ready to help protect your money. To learn more about different types of fraud, go to the Fraud section of our website here. If you have any questions or concerns about potential fraud, visit your local banking center or call our dedicated Fraud Support team at 833-488-4723.

* Holiday Scams — FBI