Saturday, March 2, 2024

AG warns of holiday scammers

With the holiday season in full swing, N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein reminds consumers to be aware of the potential for holiday scammers.

The AG noted in a press release, many scammers often seek out the most vulnerable populations to swindle money, also using holiday activities as ploys.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Report from 2021 noted that non-payment or non-delivery scams cost Americans more than $337 million. $173 million were stolen from credit cards.

Fake websites selling bogus products are often launched, targeting last-minute shoppers. Personal information is obtained without ever delivering goods.

“Never click on popup ads and instead go directly to the real website,” Stein noted in a press release. “Double-check the URL by looking for a lock icon and by making sure it starts with ‘https:’.” 

He also suggested keep all receipts and pay by credit cards over gift cards, wire transfer or cryptocurrency. Credit card companies often offer some protections if the order goes awry.

“Online markets that won’t accept a credit card are probably a scam,” he said in a release. 

Delivery scams also increase this time of year, as upward of 1 billion packages are shipped. Remember: FedEx, UPS, Amazon do not ask for personal information via email.

“Be skeptical of texts or emails telling you there was a problem with your order and instructing you to click a sketchy-looking link,” Stein explained. “If you think there might be an issue with an order, go to the company’s website directly to check, instead of responding to phishing messages.” 

Once placing deliveries, obtain tracking numbers or choose delivery that requires a signature so that packages aren’t left on the front stoop, which can be a target for porch poachers.

“If you’re traveling for the holidays, consider having your mail held for you at the post office until you return,” Stein suggested in the release. 

It’s also important to be aware of fake charities criminals often create to take advantage of the philanthropic giving of the season. Stein suggested only giving to organizations one knows is verified and directly through their website. A quick check with the AG or Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance can help identify an agency’s authenticity

Anyone who has been a the victim of a scam is encouraged to file a complaint here or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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