Tis’ the season for online shopping scams. We’ve got 10 tips to avoid being the victim of an online scammer straight from the folks at the FBI.

  1. Do a little Googling and see what you find out about the company. Make sure other people have done business with it.
  2. Check the company out on Better Business Bureau’s website (www.bbb.org).
  3. Check Yelp or other websites that review companies to see what people have to say about their experiences.
  4. Remember, too-good-to-be-true discounts almost always are.
  5. Be wary of retailers who use a free e-mail service like Gmail or Outlook instead of a company e-mail address.
  6. Just because a website looks nice, doesn’t mean the company is legitimate. Scammers can build nice websites, too.
  7. Anyone who insists you need to pay with a gift card is up to no good.
  8. Check credit card statements! Set up credit card transaction auto alerts, or check balance after every online purchase.
  9. Verify requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  10. Secure credit card accounts, even rewards accounts, with strong passwords. Change passwords and check accounts routinely.

I Fell For A Scam, Now What?

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, here’s what to do:

  • Report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov,
  • Call your bank and stop the transaction if possible.