BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – With the holiday season comes a big increase in online shopping, and with that also comes an increase in potential scams.
Lieutenant Jason McDaniel with Beckley Police Department told 59News that scammers will be on the hunt this holiday season, and they are targeting online shoppers in particular.
One common scam going around this year is an email that asks you to click a link to see information about a missed package delivery. If you click the link in the message, hackers immediately gain access to your computer.
McDaniel said you should never click that link, or open any links or attachments from senders you don’t recognize.
“In best hopes, you’re going to get a picture you don’t want to see. In worst hopes, it’s a scam and they are now inside your computer system, or your phone system, or whatever system you have,” said Lt. McDaniel.
McDaniel said it’s critical to double-check which websites you’re shopping on, and to only buy from stores and websites you’re already familiar with.
If you find yourself on a site offering a deal that seems too good to be true – it probably is.
“If it’s an unknown store, it may not be a store at all. It could be just a front that is set up to scam,” said McDaniel. “Search. You can do a Google search on the store itself to make sure it’s a real store. Call them, make sure they have a landline phone number.”
If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of online shopping, McDaniel suggested getting a separate credit card, or even a gift card to use. Having a card to use specifically for online shopping is much safer than using a card connected to your bank account.
“Don’t use your debit card that’s linked to your bank account. That’s a lot of money that can be taken,” said the Lieutenant. “If you use a credit card for online shopping only, most of the time the credit card will refund you and they won’t get any money from you.”