Christmas Scam Warning as FBI Says What You Should NEVER Do When Buying Gifts

Thousands of seasonal scams are expected over Christmas, as the FBI warns buyers to be wary when shopping online.

While shoppers rush to shop for gifts ahead of the holiday season, scammers are gearing up for their busiest season of the year, as more than $53 million was lost to scammers last Christmas.

Non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $265 million, while credit card fraud costs another $129 million


Non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $265 million, while credit card fraud costs another $129 million

The FBI and Better Business Bureau are warning buyers to be careful this Christmas shopping season, as they are expecting an uptick in scams that can rob hard-earned money, personal information and moods your festival.

Last year, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 17,000 complaints about non-delivery of goods, resulting in more than $53 million in damages over the 2020 holiday season.

The two most common of these holiday scams are the no-delivery and non-payment crimes.

No-delivery scams mean that buyers pay for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received.

While a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, the seller is never paid.

The FBI says you should never transfer money or use gift cards to make purchases.

“Try and pay with a credit card,” said Christina Garza, FBI Public Affairs Officer.

“But again, if someone asks you to pay in the form of a gift card, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency [that’s a] big red flag.

“Make sure it’s a legitimate web link. Try and do that research on your own instead of clicking on a link you see in an email or text someone sent you or even in an ad on social media sites. ”

“Every year thousands of people fall victim to various holiday scams, and these scammers either take money or your personally identifiable information.

“Remember this holiday season if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Based on Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 report (IC3), non-payment or non-delivery scams costing people more than $265 million. Credit card fraud caused another $129 million in losses.


If you’re shopping, here are some tips from the FBI to avoid being scammed:

  • Check the URL of each website to make sure it’s legit and safe. The website you are buying from must have ‘https’ in the web address. Otherwise, don’t enter your information on that site.
  • If you are buying from a company for the first time, do your research and check the reviews.
  • Verify the legitimacy of the buyer or seller before proceeding with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction site, check their response ratings. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.
  • Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where such transactions will not be available.
  • Be wary of sellers who post auctions or ads as if they were located in the United States, then respond to questions by stating they are abroad for business, family emergencies, or other reasons. due to similarity.
  • Always get tracking numbers for the items you buy online, so you can be sure they’ve shipped and can track the delivery.
  • Be suspicious of any credit card purchases where the cardholder’s address doesn’t match the shipping address when you make a sale. Always get the cardholder’s authorization before shipping any product.

Claudia Massie, Chair of the Brazos Valley Adult Protective Services Board, added: “I’m just saying be on the lookout, be very careful not to be impulsive and not buy things you want.”

While Katie Galan, Regional Manager for Better Sales, urges buyers to know exactly where they are ordering from.

“If you’re looking at virtual purchases, what we see a lot during the holiday season are fake pages,” she said.

“Really a general rule of thumb especially during the holiday season is to only go with retailers you already know and you already trust.”

Fake websites are websites that look legitimate but are actually scams, fakes, or self-scams.

The FBI also recommends that you contact law enforcement if you have been scammed, no matter how small or large.

You can report fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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Caroline Bleakley

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