Attention last-minute shoppers: stay vigilant as you complete your gift-buying. Scammers are lurking.
Rebecca Barr – public relations and communications manager for the Better Business Bureau in Great West and Pacific – said three factors are making people especially vulnerable this year.
She said a labor shortage and supply chain issues are making it harder to find certain items, and more people are shopping from home.
“They’re shopping online, kind of in a time crunch,” said Barr. “They’re stressed, they’re trying to find that perfect gift, and it leads them astray and down a path of maybe the website they’re purchasing on is not legitimate.”
Barr said scams are prevalent throughout the year but reports skyrocket during the holiday season.
The Better Business Bureau has its Scam Tracker where people can follow fraud reports in their region and submit scams they come across.
Barr said people should be careful about the websites they shop from and do more research when they haven’t heard of the retailer.
“Running even just a Google search on that company’s name, just kind of learn about that company more,” said Barr. “And read online customer reviews, especially from a third-party website. And that will help you learn what other customers have experienced with that company.”
Barr said scam websites could be offering items not available elsewhere because of supply shortages. She said trust your instincts when something looks wrong.
“Have your red flags out,” said Barr. “If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Really trust your gut.”
Because so many people are delivering packages this time of year, Barr said be wary of emails or texts that say they are from a delivery company and contain a link or a request to call and offer personal information.
She said scammers are looking to take advantage of the busy holiday season.
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