It's the holiday season and that means the scammers are busy trying to get your money. Officials with the Better Business Bureau say commons scams that happen during the holiday season include online purchase scams, look-alike websites, fake shipping notifications and free gift card scams. Last year from October to the end of December, more than 500 US victims reported an online purchase scam to the BBB. Victims reported more than 200 look-alike website scams, 300 phishing scams and over 150 gift card scams.
If you are shopping online this season be careful. Washington residents reported losing nearly $48,000 to 137 online purchase scams in 2016 for online purchase scams, many of which are coming from ads featured on Instagram. These ads lure consumers in with pretty pictures, good deals and convincing websites. However, reports show buyers are handing over their money without ever receiving the product.
And if you like free gift cards don't be fooled by pop-up ads or emails offering free gift cards. The BBB says these are often just a ploy to get personal information that can later be used for identity theft. Shoppers should also check that the company they are purchasing a gift card from isn't going out of business and determine whether there is an expiration date for the card.