Holiday e-commerce sales are projected to reach a record $207 billion in the U.S., according to a recent article on Inc.com, an increase of 10% over 2020 sales. Unfortunately, along with the rise in online holiday shopping comes the potential increase of holiday scams.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation website, two scams are the most prevalent at this time of year – non-delivery and non-payment crimes. The non-delivery involves the buyer paying for an item online but then never receiving the product. The non-payment scam is a reversal; the seller ships the item but is never paid by the buyer. The Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 report states that non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people over $265 million in 2020.
The FBI website also gives tips to avoid holiday scams, including:
- Don’t click on a link in an email or on social media that looks suspicious. Never give personal information like your name, password, or bank account number to a website you don’t know.
- Check the website of the retailer to make sure it’s legitimate. The URL should start with “https.” If you’re purchasing from this site for the first time, do some research. Check reviews and try their phone number to make sure it’s connected and valid.
- Avoid sellers offering popular items that are selling at prices “too good to be true.” They probably are.
- Never wire money directly to a seller or pay with pre-paid gift cards. Pay with a credit card and check your statements regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company immediately to dispute the charge.
- Always get tracking numbers for items bought online so you can follow the delivery process.
Shopping online can make finding gifts easy and convenient, but always make sure you know who you’re buying from and be safe with your personal information.