Beware of holiday shopping scams - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Beware of holiday shopping scams

Posted: Updated:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Social media, holiday spam, e-cards and Skype.

Randy Hutchison with the Memphis chapter of the Better Business Bureau says these are all ways you, your wallet and private information are vulnerable on the Internet.

He says your cell phone isn't even safe.  "Be wary of any unsolicited email, text message, phone call, particularly if it's asking for account numbers or any other kind of personal information. Be sure to know who you're buying from if the website is offering merchandise at a price that's too good to be true. That's always one of our standard tips: if it's too good to be true it probably is, be wary of those sorts of things," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson says these crooks are out there in full force, working the web, waiting to steal your money.  "The national retail federation has estimated that online sales are going to increase 12 percent this year over last year. More than half of the people are going to shop online. That is fodder for the crooks, that's fodder for these people who set up phony websites, phony charities, and phony gift cards. They're just looking for opportunities," he said.

After you know what to look out for when it comes to scammers, Hutchinson said there is still one more way you can protect yourself when shopping online: payment.
Even when you're on a site you trust, he said you should always do this one thing.
"Pay with a credit card. Some people worry that they're going to go into debt. That's a separate issue. You gotta decide if you can afford the purchase in the first place. But with a credit card, if something goes wrong-- even if it's an out and out phony sale or just that it isn't delivered or there is some problem with the merchandise, you've got some recourse to dispute the charge that you certainly don't have if you pay by cash or check and you have less recourse even with a debit card," Hutchinson said.

Here are a few more safety tips from the BBB:

  • Make your passwords long and strong
  • Research online sellers before buying
  • Delete any emails, tweets, posts or advertisements you're not sure about

Hutchinson said it's simple - if you don't know everything you should know about a site or just don't trust it, don't do it.

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