Scammers utilizing current online shopping habits to steal your money; how to protect yourself
During the coronavirus lockdown, many people discovered the ease of online shopping. That meant an increase in scammers too.
Scammers always find a way to take advantage of the news of the day, and what is bigger than COVID-19?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, these rip-off artists have taken people to the tune of almost $70 million. A good portion of that was related to online shopping.
There are a couple of ways these scams work.
Shoppers store credit card numbers with websites like Amazon or Instacart, which can lead to fraudulent charges.
How do you protect your money? You must get in the habit of constantly reviewing your credit card statement to make sure you ordered what your bill says you ordered.
Also, sign up for those alerts that come up on your phone for each charge, and remember, use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online. Debit cards do not offer you nearly as much fraud protection.
You should also be aware of phishing scams. You may get an email with a fake link to a popular company like Apple, Netflix, PayPal or eBay directing you to a website where they steal your passwords.
What do you do? If you get the email, delete it and navigate your way to the website without using the emailed link. Also, beware of those locks on your browser bar. They used to mean a website was safe, but not anymore because scammers can fake those too.
One more word of advice: create an email just for your online shopping. It’s easier to keep track of everything in that one account.
- FBI Urges Vigilance during COVID-19 Pandemic
- FTC | COVID-19 and Stimulus Reports
- Dept. of Homeland Security | Avoiding COVID-19 Scams
- FBI | FBI Exec Discusses COVID-19-Related Schemes
- FBI | Scams and Safety