WASHINGTON - Cyber Monday shoppers beware!
The FBI tweeted a warning Monday cautioning online shoppers to make sure the websites they are visiting are "secure and reputable" before providing them with personal information such as credit card numbers.
The FBI says thousands of people fall victim to holiday scams each year. Two of the most common -- the non-delivery scam and the non-payment scam -- affect more than 65,000 victims and amount to almost $184 million in losses.
In the non-delivery scam, buyers pay for goods or services they find online but are never received. A non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped but the seller is never paid.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center offered these tips for holiday shoppers:
- Always get a tracking number for items purchased online so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
- Be wary of sellers who post an auction or advertisement as if they reside in the U.S., then respond to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar reasons.
- Avoid sellers who post an auction or advertisement under one name but ask that payment be sent to someone else.
- Consider canceling your purchase if a seller requests funds be wired directly to them via a money transfer company, pre-paid card, or bank-to-bank wire transfer. Money sent in these ways is virtually impossible to recover, with no recourse for the victim. Always remember that anyone who asks you to use one of these forms of payment might be a scammer. A credit card is generally the safest way to pay for an online purchase.
- Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such dealers.
- Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before moving forward with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.
- Avoid buyers who request their purchase be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.
- Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the cardholder does not match the shipping address. Always receive the cardholder’s authorization before shipping any products.
- Always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.