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Scam-proofing your holiday online shopping for Cyber Monday

Posted at 6:01 AM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 12:03:25-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- With more people choosing to do their holiday shopping online, the Hillsborough County State Attorney's office is now warning buyers about scams they're seeing that could take your hard-earned money.

Report a potential scam to the Florida Attorney General's Office

Copycat Websites
Scammers are better than ever at creating “phishing” websites. They’re fake websites or emails that look close to the real thing, tricking you into giving up your personal or credit card information.

"These aren't the scams that we saw ten or twenty years ago, where it was the 'Nigerian prince' email," Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said. "They have become a lot more sophisticated and a lot harder to detect."

These scams have increased by almost 65% since 2019, according to the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. They also say to watch for false “reward points” for seasonal discounts, or websites nearly identical to services you use that aim to lure you in with a false sense of security.

Warren's office said to carefully check any email addresses or websites you’re directed to use as criminals work hard to make their fake emails and websites look like the real thing

Internet Auction Fraud
These scams are when what you get doesn’t match up with what was displayed online, according to Warren. They’re often paired with “non-delivery” fraud—when you pay for something but never receive it.

To protect yourself, Warren's office said to check whether the seller has a large number of good reviews and comments from past customers.

And to help you get your money back if there’s a problem, he said use credit cards or secure online services like PayPal, and do not use wire transfers or share your bank account and routing numbers

Fake Gift Market Tickets
Con artists are creating fake event pages, social posts, and emails to confuse gift market attendees into sharing their credit card information.

"It's a real event, but the tickets they're selling you are not actually real," Warren said. "So you need to make sure you know what you're buying and who you're buying it from."

Warren recommends only going to the official event website and use a credit card to buy things. That way, you can file a claim with the credit card company if anything turns out to be illegitimate.