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FBI Salt Lake City warns to be on high alert for holiday shopping scams

Online shopping
Posted at 3:27 PM, Nov 24, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — The holiday season is in full swing, and The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Salt Lake City is warning specifically Utahns to be on high alert for shopping scams.

Officials encourage online shoppers especially to keep the old saying in mind, "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is," as they go about buying gifts from internet retailers.

According to the FBI, "non-delivery" and "non-payment" scams are the most prevalent around the holiday season. In a "non-delivery" situation, a customer sends payment - but the goods or services are never received. In a "non-payment" scam, goods and services are shipped, but the seller is never paid.

The FBI reports that last year in Utah, victims lost nearly $3.1 million in non-delivery or non-payment scams and credit card fraud in Utah cost victims $1.5 million in 2020.

Officials have a few tips for shoppers in order to protect your information and prevent possible scams.

First, know who you're buying from or selling to. For buyers, make sure the website is legitimate and secure and check the reviews of a company if you're purchasing from them for the first time. Be careful with sellers who post an advertisement as if they live in the United States, but then say they are out of the country on business or for a family emergency. For sellers, avoid customers who request their purchase be shipped a certain way to avoid customs or taxes in another country.

Next, be careful how you pay. Customers should never wire money directly to a seller and should not pay for items with a pre-paid gift card. Regularly check credit card and bank statements to monitor for any suspicious transactions.

Lastly, monitor shipping to make sure your purchases get to you. Always get a tracking number and check the delivery process regularly. For sellers, be especially watchful of any purchases where the address of the cardholder does not match the shipping address you are sending items to.

If you believe you have been victimized to a scam, contact your bank or financial institution right away, call local law enforcement and file a complaint online by clicking here. For more tips on how to avoid scams this holiday season, click here.