FBI Warns of Online Shopping Scams Nov 22, 2011, 8:00 am By Emily Haleck

Chances are you’ll be doing at least some of your holiday shopping online this year. Heed these warnings from the FBI on online shopping scams to beware of:

Online Auctions
Some of the most common complaints received by the FBI include non-delivered merchandise and auction fraud. When making purchases online, particularly through auction sites, make sure you are transacting with a reputable merchant that is an established seller with positive feedback. Never provide financial information directly to auction sellers. Use a legitimate payment service instead.

Gift Cards
Only purchase gift cards directly from the merchant or authorized retailer instead of from an auction site, classified ad or other third party. Counterfeit cards will not be honored by the merchant.

Phishing
These official-looking emails direct recipients to follow a link or call a number to update account information. Would-be victims are sent to fraudulent websites that look legitimate and directed to provide their account information and personal details. Never click on embedded links in emails if you are suspicious; instead, type the URL directly into the browser or contact the company the email purports to be from to verify the authenticity of the email.

Fraudulent Websites
Always check to see that you have typed the correct website address for the retailer before conducting a transaction. Beware of copycat websites or those that do not comply with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) standards. Verify SSL complicity  by looking for the small padlock at the bottom right of your browser window and a URL that begins with https (“s” for “secure”). This ensures your private information is scrambled to prevent unauthorized access.

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