OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The holiday season is full of cheer and gift shopping for the ones we love. Unfortunately, it is also full of scams that can erase that holiday cheer quickly.
The Better Business Bureau that serves Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas says the holiday season is open season for all kinds of scammers, and scams have become more sophisticated.
When we think of scams, we typically think of seniors being targeted the most. However, in the BBB’s most recent Scam Tracker Risk Report, people between the ages of 18 and 24 have been the most frequent victims this holiday season.
The scams they are seeing most often come from online shopping. Hackers are using emails, social media, and online ads to target their victims.
Three of four victims of these scams have lost money, and more than a third of scams reported to the BBB have been online shopping scams.
The supply chain has caused inventory to plummet and prices to skyrocket, making these scams sound like great details when in reality they are stealing your information and money.
“Scammers try to take advantage of each year’s video idiosyncrasies by varying the product categories to capitalize on what gifts consumers are looking most for,” BBB Director of Public Relations and Communication Josh Planos said. “Think a baby Yoda gift for a child or the newest MacBook for an adult, they’re really trying to tap into what the hottest item is for the year.”
The supply chain isn’t the only variable that scammers are playing into when attempting to steal a person’s money and personal information this year.
“Some of these cases scammers will impersonate companies like Starbucks, Target, or Best Buy, trying to seek out loyal customers who have been supporting their business throughout the pandemic. So, they’re using the pandemic as the hook,” Planos said. “Anytime someone sees the word free they kind of jump at the option, but you should never send your personal sensitive information to anyone online if you can avoid it.”
Planos says to stay with your trusted websites when purchasing gifts online and always avoid any emails asking for personal information, or that contain blurry logos and images. As many times scammers will impersonate other companies.
One big tip is to only use sites that have https in the url. Some sites don’t have the “s” at the end, just http. The “s” stands for secure, which means there are additional layers of security to keep the site and your information from being hacked.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it most likely is.
Planos says most of these scammers work together and will share information to attempt to get victims more than once.
He says the best tool to protect yourself is education beforehand so you’re not performing cleanup duty.