Christmas shoppers go online, find scammers waiting

KOLO 8 News Now’s Ed Pearce warns of internet scams that turn up around the holidays.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:17 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -We’ve been relying more and more on the internet for all kinds of shopping and the pandemic only accelerated the trend. Scammers were, of course, paying attention.

“Scammers have really upped their game,” says Tim Johnston of the Better Business Bureau, and “they are using technology to their benefit.”

And it’s paying off. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker about 75 percent of us who lost money to them this year, were scammed online. Our state consistently ranks in the top 10 for online scams.

So, they are out there waiting for the impatient and uninformed. Johnston says, do your homework. know who you’re dealing with. “If you are in a bind trying to find that perfect gift for someone you love and you can’t find it any place else and all of a sudden you see it pop up on a website at a great price, do some research because it may be a scam.”

That can be tricky. Impersonation scams are common.

Check the online address. Phony ones often have a misspelling.

Johnston says be wary of jumping on any ads you see on social media and anyone asking for payment through gift cards or any non-traditional method. “If a business is asking you to pay through Venmo or Zelle or gift cards or some type of wire transfer. that should be a red flag right there.”>

Phony shipping notifications are another danger. Before writing this piece I was sorting through my email this morning and right on cue came across an example.

It appears to be from the Post Office notifying me they have a package from Amazon. They just need to verify my information which I could do by clicking on the link below.

At first glance, it looks official.

“Scammers are going to do their best to make you think that they are those trusted sources, again to take your information or take your money.”

There were a number of red flags here, beginning with the fact I’d ordered nothing from Amazon and, if I had, it would have been using my home email address, not the one at work.

A closer look reveals the sender’s address doesn’t even include the Postal Service.

It’s timely a scam, one of many of which the Postal Service is aware. More than likely it’s simply a phishing attempt seeking my personal information. But, if I’d clicked on the “verify information” bar--which I’ll admit I was tempted to do out of curiosity to see what they were up to---I’d also be risking downloading malware.

I resisted and, if you get the same email, you should too. It’s A timely reminder illustrating our point about caution, thanks to the scammers. thanks, guys.

Happy shopping.