FBI warns of online shopping scams ahead of holiday season

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 4:31 PM CST
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KXII) - The FBI Oklahoma City office said Oklahomans shopping online for the holidays lost almost $1.7 million.

The losses were attributed to both non-delivery, and non-payment scams.

“That’s either you’re buying something and you don’t get the merchandise, or you sell something and you don’t get the money for it,” said Frank Fisher, Oklahoma City FBI division public information officer. “These scams are out there and they can cost you a lot of money.”

Fisher says paying with a credit card makes tracking online shopping purchases easier.

Fisher says shoppers should do their best to buy from legitimate online retailers. Including checks for “https” in the domain name and use that to determine the site is secure.

Also, Fisher said you should see what other shoppers are saying online about websites they’re purchasing products from.

“If you buy something online, and you didn’t use a credit card, you used a gift card and you don’t have that tracking number it could be very difficult to find out if you’re ever going to get that merchandise,” Fisher said.

Fisher said websites that have only negative reviews, or no reviews at all should raise some red flags.

Fisher says many online shopping scams, like merchants asking you to pay for goods with a prepaid credit card usually originate from overseas.

By entering your personal and financial information without doing your homework, getting your money or your information back can be difficult if you realize you’ve been scammed after the fact.

“Even a website that looks extremely reputable, websites can be hacked and you could be entering personal and financial information that could go to a criminal who could rob you of your money,” Fisher said.

Fisher said it’s imperative that you contact your financial institution as soon as you realize you’ve been scammed.

“The longer you wait, and the longer you wait to file a complaint to IC3.gov the less likely it is that you’re going to get your money back and that’s unfortunate,” Fisher said.

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