Iowa officials offer advice on how to avoid Christmas shopping fraud

Iowa officials offer advice on how to avoid Christmas shopping fraud

Points Highlighted:

  • Officials from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office called that kind of fraud a particular risk for shoppers in a year beset by supply chain problems. Someone asks you to pay through a site that’s different than where you’re purchasing. You’re not getting a good deal — you’re probably being scammed. You’re on a site that doesn’t have https at the beginning of its web address. Your information may be exposed unencrypted on the internet. Look for a padlock icon next to the web address; legitimate merchants should have that symbol.
    An item for sale on a marketplace like eBay doesn’t include photos of the item in its current condition. Having one isn’t a guarantee, but a lack of one is suspicious. A web address appears to be misspelled or logos appear to be misused. Scammers often set up fake sites at web addresses similar to those of legitimate sites.
    A site asks for more information than it needs. Most sites don’t need your age or access to your contacts. No shopping site needs your banking details or your Social Security number.

  • Old-fashioned phone scams are alive and well in the digital age. Fraudsters can even use high-tech tools to “spoof” caller ID to make it look like their call comes from a legitimate number. Avoid charity scams:11 Des Moines-area charities that need your hello. Someone calls to say thank you for a charitable pledge you didn’t make, then pressure you to send money right away. Never give money on this kind of call.  Someone calls from a company or charity you do business with, then asks personal information over the phone. Say you’ll call them back, hang up, and look up the legitimate phone number yourself. They may also make contact by email or text first. Follow the same procedures. Someone you’re speaking to asks you to pay with something other than a credit card. Credit cards have fraud protections, while other kinds of payment, like a money transfer, do not. According to the FBI, the most common scams against Iowans involve online shopping.

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