Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but the holiday season is just starting and more shopping is on its way. 

Whether it is for the dinner table, home decorations, or gifts, everyone will be rushing to get everything ready before Christmas Eve. Although supporting local shops is always a good idea, many people will find it easier to search online for everything they need from the comfort of their homes. But the Plano Police Department reminds us to be alert when buying our gifts online.

The Plano Police Department shared tips to avoid scammers. According to the Facebook post, the two most common scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes. The non-delivery scam is pretty straightforward: you pay for the service or goods you saw online, but they never arrive. On the other side of the internet, non-payment scams mean the seller never receives payment, even after delivering the product.

The FBI estimates that these scams cost people over $337 million each year, and credit card fraud accounts for another $173 million. Although those two are the most prevalent during the season, the Bureau also points out that gift card fraud and auction fraud are on the rise at this time of year.

So, what should you do to protect yourself from opportunistic scammers? The Plano Police came up with a handy list of tips to keep in mind when shopping online this season:

  •  Don’t click on suspicious emails or websites on your computers or social media.  Phishing scams use these tactics to steal your identifying information and account information or download malware to your computer, allowing a takeover.
  •  Be wary of a company that asks you to update your password or account information.  Look up the company’s phone number and call their customer service. Don’t rely on a phone number on an email or request to update information
  • Verify the website you are using is secured. Look for the “https” at the beginning of the webpage or the lock symbol.
  •  If purchasing or selling from/to an individual, verify their legitimacy. Do your research.
  •  Be wary of a seller claiming to be in the US and then responding to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar situations
  •  Neve wire money directly to a seller
  •  Don’t use prepaid gift cards. If the purchase is a scam, you cannot recover any funds. 
  •  Use a credit card and check your statement regularly. If you see something suspicious, contact your credit card company immediately.
  •  Monitor the shipping process. Always get a tracking number and follow the route daily.
  •  If selling, be aware of addresses not matching the card holders address. Always receive authorization before shipping.
  • And most important of all: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.