(ConservativeInsider.org) – While the holiday season is a time of giving and spending time with loved ones, it is also unfortunately the season of scammers, so consumers need to be on the lookout. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting ripped off.
One thing to be aware of is fake or duped websites, often called “lookalike websites.” Sometimes you may end up on a website that looks like a website you know and trust (for example, Amazon or eBay), but if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers will often replicate websites like Amazon, but the name in the link will be misspelled or use odd punctuation to look legitimate. If you see a product that normally retails for $50-100 available for less than $10, make sure you check the link and that you’re on the real website. Minor misspellings like “Amozon.com” instead of “Amazon.com” can trick buyers, so beware.
Another common scam to look out for is links sent by text or email that look like package tracking, but are actually designed to steal your information or to put malware on your device, which is called phishing. If you click on a fake link that looks like a tracking website, they may ask you to put in your personal information, which scammers can then use to steal your identity or access your banking accounts. If you order a product online and you want to check on its status, it’s best to go directly to the website you ordered it from and check the tracking there. Never click on a link that say it’s tracking something that you didn’t order.
Finally, holiday scammers love to steal from your porch or your mailbox. Often called “porch pirates,” these criminals will follow behind Amazon or mail delivery trucks, then sneak up and take things off your porch or from your doorstep, often to re-sell things online. If you’re going to mail a gift card or a check through the mail, it’s advised to drop it off at a drop box instead of using your home mailbox. A camera on your front door may also help deter porch pirates.
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