APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV)-Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday are not only big days for online shoppers, they are big days for scammers as well.
Lieutenant Meghan Cash of the Appleton Police Department says when the holidays roll around each year more people report scams as online shopping increases.
She suggests consumers shop on online sites they are familiar with and trust and to use a company’s actual website rather than a third party. Scammers frequently use website names that are very similar to valid websites so look for slight misspellings in website URLs.
Secure web addresses begin with HTTPS://; that ‘s’ is critical in determining if a website is valid or not.
“Be weary of a website that you’ve never visited before asking you for money or offering a deal that is too good to be true,” says Cash.
Cash says if one website offers a significantly lower price than all the other websites for the same item, that’s a red flag.
It’s also important to keep your antivirus software on your phone and computer up to date.
Cash says to also use a credit card when shopping online because if something were to happen it’s easier to track the money and you’ll be able to contest it with your credit card company.
She says it’s sometimes difficult for law enforcement to track online criminals because they usually don’t live anywhere near the same area as their victims. The Better Business Bureau tells Local Five News scams have become more common since the pandemic began because people have chosen to shop online to avoid crowds at the actual stores.
“Often times scams can be prevented by just getting somebody else to take a look and often that second set of eyes can help just vet out information,” says Cash.
Lt. Cash says if you believe you have been scanned to contact your financial institution immediately to try to stop the transfer and also call your local police department to report it.
Unsolicited emails, texts, and calls claiming that you won something or asking you to buy something usually indicate phishing scams. Delete these emails, texts, and calls right away and avoid clicking on any links.