The Better Business Bureau in Nebraska is warning last minute shoppers to be extra careful when shopping online. President and CEO Jim Hegarty (HEG-GURR-tee) says emails and social media is flooded this time of year with great offers but unfortunately “Scammer Claus” is lurking in the background ready to pounce. Hegarty reminds Nebraskans never to click on email links when shopping online. Go directly to the source.
Hegarty says, “Make sure you look for the https in front of the web address. That reminds you the “s” stands for security and the site is secure and you can more than likely trust providing your credit card information to it.”
Other warnings include charities. Hegarty says they encourage people to give to those in need but there are many bogus look-alike charities that show up this time of year. They play off of legitimate charity names and scammers use that money to line their pockets.
Scammers even have found a way to steal gift cards. Hegarty says, “Be sure to look at the package carefully. Make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. Look at the back to make sure the scratch-off or the sticker covering the pin and the code hasn’t been tampered with. We see a lot of that this time of year where scammers peel away the stickers to show the code. They will take pictures of those codes and check regularly to see if the card has been activated and then use them up before you have a chance to.”
Hegarty says there are ways to protect yourself. He says always ask for a gift card from behind the counter instead of one off the display. Hang on to the receipt because the activation numbers should be on there. You then can go back to the retailer and let them know the card isn’t working. If the card has been compromised and a thief used it, the retailer should be able to track down how it was used.