As the holidays approach, the FBI reminds the public to use caution when making online purchases. Cyber criminals continue to create ways to steal your money and personal information. If a deal looks too good to be true, it likely is.
Be wary of e-mails or text messages that indicate a problem or question regarding your financial accounts. Criminals will attempt to direct victims to click a link or call a number to update an account or correct a purported problem. The links may appear to lead you to legitimate websites, but they are not. Any personal information you share on them could be compromised.
The major legitimate delivery service providers do not e-mail customers directly regarding scheduled deliveries; you have to already have an existing account for this type of communication. Nor will they state when a package has been intercepted or is being temporarily held. E-mails about these issues are phishing scams that can lead to personal information breaches and financial losses.
Internet criminals post classified advertisements on auction websites for products they do not have. If you buy merchandise promoted via an online ad or auction site but receive it directly from the retailer, it could be stolen property. You can protect yourself by not providing the seller with your financial information. Use legitimate payment services for transactions.
Fraudsters will also offer reduced or free shipping to auction site customers. They provide fake shipping labels, but they don’t pay for the packages’ delivery. It’s safest to purchase gift cards directly from merchants rather than through auction sites or classified ads. If the merchant discovers the card you received from another source was initially fraudulently obtained, the card will be deactivated.