DETROIT – The FBI’s Detroit division is warning holiday shoppers about the high potential for scams this holiday season; and this time around the scams are expected to be especially aggressive and creative, as criminals unleash schemes design to steal money and personal information.
As far as U.S. states go, Michigan has been particularly hard hit over the years, with more than 6,400 people claiming a total loss of more than $25 million during last year’s season.
In order to help prevent these losses in 2018, the FBI Detroit division is offering the following tips:
Social Media Scams: Be especially careful of social media posts offering vouchers or gift cards, even if they appear to have been shared by an online friend. Surveys, promotions and contests are often created in order to steal personal information. The FBI is also advising people not to post photos of event tickets on social media as scammers have been known to use the barcode to create phony tickets for resale.
Online Shopping Scams: Be aware of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand name merchandise or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and make sure your bank and credit card passwords are secure with strong passwords before shopping.
Smartphone App Scams: Some downloadable apps may be designed to steal personal information. Look for third-party reviews before downloading to make sure they are reputable.
Work-From-Home Scams: Be wary of work-from-home job offers that force you to give away personal information before getting started and take extra caution whenever money is required up front in order to work at the alleged job. If the job offer makes showy claims, such as “no experience necessary”, use extra caution as this may be another red flag.
Other scams may include gift card scams and fake charity scams. Double check the reputation of any outlet asking for money or gift card purchases before considering whether or not to proceed, and always err on the side of caution.
For more information or to report fraud
In addition to the above tips, be sure to check your bank statements regularly and to only purchase from reputable site and businesses while staying wary of suspicious emails.
To report possible fraud, you may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet crime complaint center at https://www.ic3.gov (regardless of the dollar amount lost).