Holiday Shopping Scams and How to Avoid Them

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 8:58 AM EST
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With the holiday shopping season underway, it’s important to be vigilant against online shopping scams. Here are some tips to keep you, and your wallet safe this holiday season.

The holiday season is nearly upon us, and with that comes shopping. According to research company Ipsos, two-thirds of consumers expect to buy gifts mostly online this season, with 3 in 5 of those consumers doing more online shopping than prior to the pandemic. With that increase in online shopping, it leaves many opportunities for consumers to fall victim to scammers.

“They will come at you, the scamsters, from every which way…They always chase the headlines of course, and they know that with the worldwide supply chain crisis they know they have the consumers, their targets, on the run because everyone is afraid of not being able to supply that gift.” - Phillip Chin – Volunteer Spokesperson, AARP Fraud Watch Network

Some of those scams may show an ad featuring a hard to find item, that is not available elsewhere, or may show an item at a severe discount to known and trusted stores.

“It’s the old story, that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true...common sense is the best thing to use during the holiday season” says Chin.

Kimberly James is the Medicare Education Coordinator with the Aroostook Agency on Aging, and she has a few tips to keep in mind before hitting “Add to Cart”

“While holiday shopping online its important to remember not to click on anything suspicious. Such as links or email attachments that you are not familiar with…also remember to know who you are buying from, check each website to make sure that it is legitimate and secure. Be careful how you pay, avoid paying for items in exchange for things such as pre-paid gift cards…and while you are doing online shopping its very important to always get tracking numbers, so you can watch the shipping process and get what you ordered online.” says James.

And if someone were to fall victim to one of these scams, is there any way to recover those hard earned dollars that were lost?

“It’s not always guaranteed, but they should contact their financial institution and dispute any suspicious charges, they can also give us a call and we can help them through the process.” says James.

Phil Chin, Volunteer Spokesperson for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network also had one last piece of advice to keep in mind to help keep the “Ho Ho Ho” in your holiday shopping from becoming “Oh Oh No”

“Remember you can only stop a scam, if you spot a scam.” says Chin.

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